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“It’s a drop in the ocean,” said Hamza Mansour, leader of the Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political arm.

He said the opposition wants the parliament to have full powers to form a government.

“We want a strong parliament to be a watchdog over the Cabinet. We want the election law to be changed. We want a national salvation Cabinet comprising loyalists and opposition to supervise the changes. And we want the changes to be made quickly,” Mr. Mansour said.

A recently enacted election law brought the dispute between the government and the Brotherhood to a bottleneck. The law gives concessions to the opposition by setting aside 27 of the 150 seats in parliament to be chosen by a nationwide list. The rest of the seats are reserved for representatives from local districts.

Islamists are likely to dominate the national-list seats and get some of the local seats. Pro-government tribal candidates are likely to take most of the local seats, given their strong support from clans and relatives.

Televised appeal for ‘Jordanian society’

Abdullah appeared in a rare television interview recently urging the Brotherhood to contest the election, calling it “one of the components of Jordanian society that we are proud of.” He even hosted leaders of the terrorist Palestinian group Hamas, who were expelled from Jordan in 1999.

He acknowledged that there “is no country or society that is immune against the danger of chaos.” But he insisted that substantial reform will take hold in time. He pointed to the need for Jordan’s 23 splintered political parties to coalesce into two or three main groups to better contest elections.

Abdullah has created an independent commission to supervise parliamentary elections, a task once performed by the government. He also has established a constitutional court to monitor the application of more than two dozen amended laws. He changed the election law to encourage a multiparty system and a local law to allow Jordanians to govern their towns by electing mayors and city councils.

The king also revoked restrictions on protests and allowed the formation of a teachers union, previously banned out of fears that it could influence students. He also put his former intelligence chief on trial on corruption charges.

Despite opposing many of the king’s policies, the Brotherhood has remained largely loyal to Abdullah’s Hashemite dynasty, which claims ancestry to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.