Despite reforms, election, little may change in Jordan
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordanians voted on Wednesday for a parliament with wider authority, as the king cedes some of his powers to try to prevent simmering dissent from boiling over into a full blown Arab Spring uprising.
The new legislature will choose the prime minister and run day-to-day affairs, powers that used to reside with King Abdullah II. Foreign policy and security matters remain in the hands of the king.
Abdullah has introduced the reforms in a measured manner, trying to manage the pace of change.
Critics charge that the reforms are not enough, and the election is not enough of a change. The main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted the voting.
The 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in the region set off a wave of demonstrations in this usually placid U.S. ally. They have included unprecedented calls for the king to step down, raising alarms about the depth of the unrest.
The protests in Jordan have not been on the scale of the uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia, or the bloody civil war in neighboring Syria.
Nearly 300,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan, some suspected of links to the Syrian regime. Some in Jordan worry that they could be a destabilizing element.
At a polling station at an Amman high school, Islam Qandil, 29, wearing an Islamic niqab covering her whole face except her eyes, said she didn't agree with the opposition boycott. The opposition has “the right to express their views, but the rule in Jordan is fair,” she said, expressing trust in the king.
Outside another polling station across town, convenience store clerk Mohammed Abu-Summaqa, 21, said he would not cast a ballot.
“Members of parliament will not be able to do anything for us because they are controlled by the king and Cabinet, so why should I vote?” he asked.
Because of the Brotherhood's absence, the next parliament is likely to be a mix of independents with little political experience and pro-king conservatives, as previous ones were.
Nearly 1,500 candidates, including 191 women, ran for the 150-seat parliament. Woman have 15 seats reserved for them under a quota, and Christians, who make up 4 percent of the country's 6 million population, will get at least nine.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-Gitmo detainees protest in Uruguay
- Japan steps up defense activities amid worries about China, North Korea
- Help slow to reach Nepal villages damaged by earthquake
- Poland blocks pro-Putin Russian bikers at border
- Employees of Mercer County-based manufacturer among missing in Nepal
- Nepal quake death toll tops 4,000 as villages plead for aid
- Senior officials are toppled in China’s anti-graft campaign
- Mexican teen wrongly taken to U.S. returned
- Armenia commemorates massacre
- Man who landed drone on Japanese PM’s office surrenders
- Italy marks anniversary of its rebellion against fascism