King Abdullah of Jordan in the hot seat
As Elections Near, Protesters in Jordan Increasingly Turn Anger Toward the King - Kareem Fahim
For two years, protests in Jordan demanding reform have seethed, fuelled by complaints about corruption, incompetent governing and the slow pace of change. The protests have also started to broaden, to include bolder expressions of dissatisfaction with King Abdullah II. To quiet his critics, the king is relying on a new round of parliamentary elections scheduled for Wednesday to “breathe life into our democracy.” The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and the protest network Hirak are boycotting the vote. (New York Times)
See also Missed Opportunities for Reform in Jordan - Editorial
The Jordanian parliamentary election scheduled for Wednesday represents another missed opportunity for the regime of King Abdullah II. The electoral system is engineered to block the two political forces most threatening to the regime: the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinians, who outnumber Jordan’s native population. Gerrymandered districts that leave Palestinian areas underrepresented, and a limitation of party lists to 27 of the parliament’s 150 seats, ensure that local tribal leaders will once again predominate in the assembly.
The idea that autocracy can survive in a country that borders Israel and Iraq as well as Syria is a delusion. If change in Jordan does not soon come from the palace, it will come from the street. (Washington Post)