Jordan’s IAF to Bolster Election Boycott
The Islamic Action Front, political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, announced Tuesday it would heighten its campaign against the January 23 parliamentary elections set to take place. The IAF, along with a number of small parties, is planning on boycotting the elections, largely because of a new election law it claims favors King Abdullah II’s loyalists. The group wants to see the king relinquish more of his powers to parliament, and is pushing for constitutional changes. The IAF will use peaceful means including “street protests, public gatherings, and strikes” to campaign against the elections as well as political reforms set out by the king.
The king, having billed these elections as the centerpiece of Jordanian political reform and the start of its move from constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary government, insists that the elections will play a key role in this transition. In the second of a series of discussion papers he is publishing he explains how, for the first time, the prime minister will be chosen in consultation with the majority bloc in parliament, “a first step” towards a “full parliamentary government.” The king stresses that this can only take place after true political parties, a professional civil service, and parliamentary conventions are able to develop.
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems published Elections in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: Frequently Asked Questions in which it explains, among other things, electoral procedures and campaign laws. For his part, Curtis R. Ryan, author of Jordan in Transition, says that these elections and the formation of government afterward will help to show if Jordan really is undergoing a political transition.