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IAF defectors may join election race though not happy with bill

By Khetam Malkawi - Feb 27,2016 - Last updated at Feb 27,2016

AMMAN — The Islamic Action Front (IAF), the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm and the largest opposition party in the Kingdom, expressed dissatisfaction with the new draft 2015 parliamentary elections law on Saturday, as did members of three groups that defected from the party.

The three groups of defectors are racing against time to prepare what is needed to form new political parties before the upcoming parliamentary elections, whose date has not been decided yet. Members of the Zamzam Initiative and newly established Muslim Brotherhood Society have plans to establish a joint political party, while the Group of Elders,  a splinter of the IAF, is mulling forming another party, leaders from these groups told The Jordan Times.

However, they and the IAF said the draft elections law endorsed by the Lower House of Parliament last week does not live up to their expectations, citing primarily the absence of a proportional list at the national level.

Murad Adaileh, the IAF's spokesperson, said no decision has been made yet regarding the party’s participation in the new elections.

“Unfortunately, the Lower House did not consider remarks made by representatives of political parties and NGOs when they passed the bill,” Adaileh told The Jordan Times, adding that hundreds of meetings were conducted by the Lower House before discussing the law, but they “ignored” the main suggestions made by civil society organisations.

He added that the IAF Shura Council members call the shots when it comes to the party’s participation in the elections.

Meanwhile, Rheil Gharaibeh, founder of the Zamzam Initiative, said that although the bill does not encourage political parties’ participation in the upcoming elections, plans to establish a new political party, that include members of both the Zamzam Initiative and the Muslim Brotherhood Society, remain under way.

“We will start the registration procedures this week,” Gharaibeh revealed, adding that a notification for the party’s registration will be submitted to the Ministry of Political Affairs.

“As per the new law, any individual can form a list and run for the elections,” he said, noting that the decision to run in the elections has still not been made yet.

The “Group of Elders”, another faction of defectors who submitted their resignations to the IAF last December, also criticised the draft law. 

“We want political representation rather than representation based on constituents,” Khaled Hasanain, the group’s spokesperson, told The Jordan Times.

Although the group was also studying the feasibility of forming another political party, the plan is not final following the rejection of their resignations by the IAF.

In December last year, 400 members, including top leaders and founding members, tendered their resignations to the leadership of the IAF. Last month, the party’s leadership decided to reject these resignations, throwing the ball back to the defectors’ field.

“We still believe that returning to the IAF is not the best option,” Hasanain said, adding that if the idea of the proposed party will be revisited. “We will likely agree on other formula to join the election race.” 

 

The IAF refused to take part in the 2012 parliamentary polls, citing the injustice involved in the one-person-one-vote system and what they saw as lack of assurances that the vote would not be rigged as in a repeat of what happened in 2007. 

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