Is­lamists hop­ing for come­back in Jor­dan

The Myanmar Times - - World -

JORDANIANS vote in par­lia­men­tary elec­tions to­mor­row that could see op­po­si­tion Is­lamists re-emerge as a ma­jor par­lia­men­tary force in the kingdom, a key West­ern ally in the fight against ji­hadists.

The vote comes as Jor­dan wres­tles with stub­bornly high un­em­ploy­ment, fears of a spillover from wars in Syria and Iraq, and the bur­den of host­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of refugees.

The Is­lamic Ac­tion Front, the political arm of Jor­dan’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, is ex­pected to win around 20 seats in the 130-seat par­lia­ment, mak­ing it the big­gest op­po­si­tion force.

The IAF boy­cotted elec­tions in 2010 and 2013 in protest at the elec­toral sys­tem and al­le­ga­tions of fraud.

Jor­dan’s elec­toral sys­tem gives dis­pro­por­tion­ate clout to ru­ral dis­tricts, which are less pop­u­lated than the cities but tend to re­turn tribal can­di­dates loyal to the monar­chy.

The IAF, how­ever, will also face com­pe­ti­tion from Is­lamists seen as aligned with the palace.

Th­ese in­clude the break­away Mus­lim Broth­er­hood As­so­ci­a­tion, which the gov­ern­ment au­tho­rised last year to com­pete in polls.

De­spite the chal­lenges fac­ing Jor­dan, the elec­tion has failed to in­spire the public.

The Phenix Cen­tre, a lo­cal poll­ster, re­ported that 42 per­cent of Jordanians planned not to vote while 19pc were un­de­cided. –

Photo: AFP

Is­lamist can­di­date Mustafa al-Assaf speaks dur­ing a cam­paign for the Na­tional Al­liance for Re­form in Am­man’s Sweileh district late on Septem­ber 16.

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