Jordan’s Islamists Continue to Demand Regime Reform
Jordan’s major Islamist party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), issued a statement Friday saying “‘regime reform is a ‘realistic and achievable objective’ and the only acceptable outcome of the country’s reform process,” according to the Jordan Times. The party’s Secretary General Hamzah Mansour reitterated IAF’s long-standing position saying that real reform requires authority derived from the people through a freely elected representative government. The IAF and the Muslim Brotherhood have both called for nation-wide boycott of upcoming elections.
Tobias Buck of the Financial Times, argues that opposition activists and analysts alike claim that the new election law, approved by King Abdullah in July, is a sign of the country’s degrading reform process. The law is criticized for leadng to a legislature unrepresentative of the kingdom’s demographics, and for strengthening tribal politics at the expense of political parties. But, according to Buck, “Analysts say the over-riding fear is that this year’s ballot will once again produce a weak and fragmented parliament that will be unable and unwilling to provide a counterweight to the vast constitutional powers enjoyed by Jordan’s monarchy.”
Meanwhile, prominent political analyst Labib Kamhawi said last week that he may face prosecution or jail “for inciting revolt and defaming Jordan’s King Abdullah.” Kamhawi was questioned for publicly harming the king’s dignity and inciting people against the government over comments made on a TV talk show that questioned the king’s reform ambitions. “Of course, I’m planning to fight back,” Kamhawi told The Associated Press, ”If we accept this, it will be the end of freedom of speech in Jordan.