Jordan: Amended electoral law approved; but Brotherhood maintains boycott; risk of political crisis and protests without concessions
On 23 July King Abdullah approved the amended electoral law which we discussed in our last report. The amended law includes a minor concession to the opposition by increasing the number of seats available that can be contested by a political party or coalition, such as the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. However, as we noted last time, the electoral system continues to favour pro-Government voters and so the IAF remains committed to boycotting the elections.
However, the King is unlikely to support parliamentary elections taking place in the face of a major opposition boycott, and so further concessions or an election delayed until next year has become more likely. Indeed, Abdullah stated in this period that active participation is crucial to successful electoral reforms, in an attempt to urge the Brotherhood to continue to participate in dialogue. However, unless concessions are sufficient to mollify the Brotherhood, then a resumption of street protests is likely, although the Brotherhood did cancel a protest in this period, since it is currently engaged in talks with the Government.