- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
- Iranian woman forgives son’s killer at the gallows
- Nebraska principal sorry for ‘don’t tattle’ flier
- Illinois readies to spend $100M for Obama museum in Chicago
- John Edwards back in court — this time as a lawyer for Va. boy’s malpractice case
- Covered California reports more than 200K in overtime Obamacare sign-ups
- Thanks, Chuck: Hagel says U.S. sending Ukraine sleeping mats, helmets
- HUMPRHIES: The Liberal Bully of the Week is …
- Secret Service threatened to kill Mr. Met if he got close to Clinton, mascot claims
Jordan’s king sees elections as central to political reform
At the heart of the unrest lies a new electoral law, which the opposition says ensures that the king’s loyalists get most of the seats in parliament.
The Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, and a handful of other reform movements have held protests on the eve of the vote. They have demanded that the king relinquish more of his absolute powers to parliament.
“The numbers [at these protests] were relatively big, and this is a clear message that, even if we have a new parliament, this will not change anything on the ground, protests will continue, and we will find ourselves in another political crisis,” Mohammed Hussainy, director of the Identity Center, a Jordanian organization monitoring the elections, said in a Skype interview from Jordan’s capital, Amman.
More than 1,400 candidates, including 191 women, are vying for seats in the 150-member lower house of parliament.
No one, not even the political parties that are taking part in the elections, approve of the new electoral law, said Mr. Hussainy.
“Immediately after the new parliament is set up, we will have demands to change the electoral law again, and this will lead to the same crisis: should the parliament continue or should the parliament be dissolved again?” he said. “Instead of having elections as the key to solve the political crisis, the elections itself have become a crisis.”
The electoral law will not disenfranchise any one group and is open to change by the next parliament, a Jordanian official in Amman said in a background phone interview.
King Abdullah has fired two prime ministers in the past two years in an effort to show he is serious about reforms. In October, he dissolved the parliament and called early elections.
Unlike in other countries in the region where the Muslim Brotherhood had been banned and suppressed, the Islamists in Jordan have been loyal to the Hashemite rulers and have even taken roles in the government. The Islamists derive their support from Palestinians who make up more than half of Jordan’s 6.5 million population.
Most worrying for King Abdullah is dissent from a new youth-based opposition coalition, known as Herak, representing tribal areas that have traditionally been part of his support base.
For the first time since the 1950s, Jordanian lawmakers, not the king, will choose the prime minister.
The new electoral law, however, largely maintains the status quo, analysts say.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
- Amid clashes, White House nixes 'lethal' Ukraine aid
- U.S. rebukes Iran's U.N. envoy pick over 1979 embassy attack
- U.S. missing out on big opportunities in Africa, Liberian official says
- House follows Senate in passing bill to bar Iran's U.N. pick
- Obama admin unfairly pitting China against North Korea: diplomat
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- Jews being told to register in Ukraine: John Kerry
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.