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Islamists see opportunity in upcoming elections

Jul 30,2016 - Last updated at Jul 30,2016

The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan has decided to run for parliamentary elections this year through their political arm the Islamic Action Front. 

Following years of boycotting elections in protest against “the one-person, one-vote” formula, the current leadership of the Brotherhood has found in the new Elections Law an opportunity to reassert its political presence in the 18th Lower House, and to make up for its losses during the last decade. 

The Jordanian Parliament is not “terra incognita” to the Brotherhood. 

In 1989, it had 22 members, in 1993 it had 17 seats, in 2003 it had 13 seats, and in 2007 it had only six seats. 

Part of its new strategy was to drop the iconic slogan “Islam is the solution”. 

It has made alliances with Christian candidates in Salt and Zarqa in order to facilitate their victory since both sides will enjoy a win-win situation.

The new Elections Law allocates 15 seats out of the 130 for the women’s quota. Brotherhood sources are sure that the Sisters branch of the movement will win a minimum of 40 per cent of that quota.

The new election stratagem of the movement also entails approaching some charismatic Islamic figures in main population centres and asking them to run for elections.

By dropping the election slogan of “Islam is the solution”, the Islamists have opened the door to the potential of having a joint list with the Baathists, who have had previous joint ventures with the movement in Jordan.

Since 1989, the Brotherhood has had its ups and downs with the legislature. 

In the 11th Parliament, it had an overwhelming majority that prompted a secretary general of the Jordanian Communist Party to comment that “the Muslim Brotherhood is politically short-sighted; had our party had such an overwhelming majority of 22 seats out of 80 in Parliament, we would not have accepted five ministries as they did, but we would have insisted on forming the whole Cabinet”.

The Brotherhood has realised that the next four years constitute a turning point in the Kingdom’s future. 

It has nominated the most hawkish of its leaders as candidates, like Saud Abu Mahfouz in Zarqa and Ali Otoum in Irbid. 

 

As a grassroots movement, it will lend its popular weight to former army officers like Gen. Musa Al Hadid. 

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