Advocacy Director Cole Bockenfeld analyzes the need for President Obama to firmly encourage King Abdullah on the issue of political reform during his visit to Jordan.
Jordan’s January 2013 parliamentary elections did little to change the political status quo in this constitutional monarchy, but they have been billed as the centerpiece of important reforms underway in the kingdom. In the summer of 2011, King Abdullah II beamed that the “Arab Spring actually gave me, in a way, the opportunity that I’ve been looking for the past 11 years” to rally reform in the country. But Jordan’s electoral reforms have been only minor technical and administrative improvements to the voting process that avoid the fundamental need for the monarchy to share power.
American trumpeting of these modest steps – while failing to call for further progress – only exacerbates the problem by reinforcing the king’s false impression that such reforms are sufficient.
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