Islamist Party to Boycott Jordanian Elections
Jordan’s Islamist Action Front announced that they will boycott upcoming parliamentary elections in protest of a new electoral law which they say does not go far enough. The controversial law moderately expanded the number of seats in Jordan’s lower house that can be contested by parties, which is now up to 27 seats from 17 in the 140 seat chamber. The Islamist Action Front, the political party of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, is demanding this number be raised to 30% of the house, or 42 seats, and said that they may reconsider their boycott if significant changes are made to the law.
Additionally, a recent Pew Research Center poll shows that support for democracy in Jordan fell by about 11% from 2011 t0 2012, but that over 60% still believe it is the best form of government. The poll also found that while over two-thirds of Jordanians believe the Arab Spring will lead to more democracy at home, most are more concerned with their economic outlook, which less than a third of Jordanians believe will improve soon.
Also, Tamer al-Samadi reports on the difficult conditions facing Syrian soldiers and senior officers who defect to Jordan. Currently around 800 defectors have crossed over into Jordan, including 4 brigadier-generals and 20 colonels, many of whom fled Syria once they ran out of ammunition. All defectors are currently being held under house arrest in a camp near the city of Mafraq, while their families are being held in civilian refugee camps. Visits are allowed three times a week under supervision, but the defectors are not allowed to leave the camps without security clearances which are difficult to obtain. The Jordanian government, as well as a few NGOs, are funding provisions for these soldiers, since their status prohibits them from receiving U.N. refugee aid.