The Jordanian parliamentary elections, due in two days, will not feature the end of the conflict between the regime and the opposition, but rather a waiting station or a means of buying time. Both parties—the regime and the Brotherhood—are getting ready for the aftermath of the last round in Syria, if it is to happen any time soon.
This is what many circles in Amman expect. Throughout the past two years, the opposition could not manage to force King Abdullah the Second to respond to their demands even though there seems to be a tendency to follow the Moroccan example in which King Mohamed VI gave the parliament the right to appoint the prime minister. The regime in Jordan has actually been learning from the Arab Spring which threatened its existence and still does.
The percentage of registered voters has reached 65%, which means that the opposition could not garner much support
The percentage of registered voters has reached 65%, which means that the opposition could not garner much support. This was shown in the protests they staged last Friday, a few days after the deadline for registration. However, boycotting would result in a parliament made up of one faction is not a sign of democracy even though the concession offered by the government through amending the election law (27 seats out of 150 are to be elected across the kingdom) would take to the parliament what can be called “super MPs” in comparison to those brought by “one vote.” This would result in a discrepancy in the relationship between the representatives of the people and might lead to a sort of internal opposition of no leverage. It is noteworthy that most of the candidates are familiar faces and some of them were interrogated on charges of bribery and vote buying.
Egypt discourage Jordanians
The new government was hoping it would attract those, but it didn’t. Would some of those powers, like Ahmed Obeidat’s front and leftists and nationalist factions, boycott the elections too? The government was also unable to deepen the rift between the ranks of Islamist factions and to attract more parties that reject radical change especially as far as the king’s powers are concerned and that do not want to see Islamists in power. Jordan could have turned into one of the most unstable spots had the regime not been monitoring the developments taking place in the north very accurately. It could have actually turned into another front in the Syrian conflict for the borders with the northern neighbor are in no way similar to those with Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. The regime is also benefiting from the stance of the majority of Jordanian-Palestinian citizens who are anxious that a drastic change would entail a reshaping of the state and its components so that they might be stripped of their political, social, and economic standing. Their concerns grow with the rise of the extremist Right in Israel and which threatens to eliminate what remains of the Palestinian cause.
There is no doubt that many Arab and international powers would depend on Jordan on the day after the collapse of the Syrian regime or the prevalence of absolute chaos in Syria and there no way a comparison could be made between Jordanian and Turkish intervention. There is also no doubt that Americans and Europeans as well as Gulf countries prefer that Jordan be the power that steps in owing to calculations related to the stance of those countries on the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and the influence of Iran.
Jordanian elections cannot be seen as a drastic change or as a step towards democracy even though the king might seem willing to give up some of his powers without a constitutional amendment. They cannot also be seen as a means to curb the opposition because the parliament will not be able to do so. But the opposition might not be able to mobilize more powers. Both parties in Jordan need to buy time and to remain in a waiting station until the situation in the region becomes clearer.
(Lebanese writer George Semaan started his career as the local political affairs editor in An-Nahar newspaper. He moved to London where he contributed to re-establishing al-Hayat, and was appointed as the managing editor. Being a deputy editor in chief at al-Hayat, he was also assigned as the editor-in-chief of al-Wasat newspaper. Later, he was assigned editor- in-chief of al-Hayat. Now he is the chief editor of the newsroom at al-Hayat LBC, an Arabic newspaper and television channel.)
Last Update: Saturday, 2 March 2013 KSA 12:14 – GMT 09:14
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