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Jordan - Problems Ahead?

Incident: Parliamentary elections on 23 January were billed as King Abdullah’s reform remedy for stemming the tide of rebellion. The opposition Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the polls because the King’s reform plans are not nearly expansive enough. In fact, the King’s electoral reforms have not met any significant demands of the opposition, other than to increase the quota for women’s representation. This comes amid an atmosphere of ongoing protests and tensions over the conflict in neighboring Syria. 

Bottom Line: Jordan faces a major dilemma on two fronts, which are (or will be) interlinked: it can either give in to the opposition Muslim Brotherhood’s demands for a constitutional monarchy that would give it more power, or it can try to hold out a bit longer on reforms even though it is threatened by rising socio-economic unrest; 2) on many levels, Jordan is supporting the rebels in Syria against Assad, but the fall of Assad would be devastating for the kingdom. 

Analysis: On the domestic political front, Jordan is in a tough position. The Muslim Brotherhood opposition has traditionally been a “loyal” opposition, but that is changing inevitably due to the conflict in Syria and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood elsewhere in the region. King Abdullah could pursue reforms that would require the integration of the Brotherhood into the political system right now while the MB would only make moderate demands. Alternatively,…

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