Jordan Sets Date for Elections, Questions Remain
Jordan’s electoral authority announced that general parliamentary elections will be held on January 23, but the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamic Action Front reaffirmed their decision to boycott the polls. ”The Islamist movement’s position definitely has not changed. Almost all our reform demands have not been met, and the regime is still insisting on its position,” an IAF. spokesman told AFP. The IAF and other opposition parties are protesting Jordan’s new election law, which they claim marginalizes the rural population and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. The voter registration process has also come under scrutiny. The Independent Elections Committee announced that 2.28 million Jordanians registered to vote during the registration drive that ended on October 15, out of 3.1 million eligible voters. Jordan’s total population is 6.7 million. Writer Daoud Kuttab called for the Jordanian government to “step out of its comfort zone and use independent and even slightly critical media” to explain the electoral process and government policies more generally.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco met with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Amman on October 18 to discuss means of strengthening their bilateral relationship,the situation in Jerusalem and developments in Syria . Abdullah warned of the “dangerous repercussions” of the Syrian crisis as thousands of refugees continue to stream into Jordan each week. Two cousins of slain al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were arrested on Thursday as they tried to enter Jordan from Syria, where they had reportedly been fighting for the past five months. U.S. and Jordanian officials confirmed that there are joint plans in place to help Jordan deal with further problems along the border, which include larger refugee flows and the potential for violence.
Meanwhile, Jordanian newspaper al-Ra’i reported that foreign and domestic investment in Jordan rose 81 percent in the first nine months of 2012, compared to the same period in 2011.