Jordan’s former Prime Minister Faisal al-Fayez has declared his mediation efforts with the Muslim Brotherhood to be over. The mediation had aimed to dissuade the Brotherhood from boycotting parliamentary elections scheduled before the end of the year.
In an interview with a US TV channel on Sept. 27, King Abdullah II of Jordan said, “The Brotherhood is a part of the regime, since it is a political party and a portion of the mosaic of Jordanian society. However, they would not enjoy such legitimacy in any other Arab country.”
In an interview with Al-Hayat, Fayez, who is a Jordanian figure close to the royal court, warned of “great strife” that could have “serious consequences” in the country if the Brotherhood insists on carrying out “large demonstrations on Oct. 6,” as the group had previously announced.
Fayez quoted an Islamic leader as saying last week that the mediation process was moving in the right direction and that the Brotherhood will be announcing good news in two days.
[Fayez] added: “However, I was surprised when I was told that the offer was not enough to convince the Brotherhood to abandon its decision [to boycott].”
Fayez warned that “the Brotherhood’s demonstrations will negatively affect the country's stability and security.”
He added that counter-demonstrations will be conducted on the same day, and continued, saying that “the Jordanian people will not accept that the Brotherhood act this way.”
Fayez said that “the Brotherhood’s decision to stay in the street will not give them any positive results, and public protests will never serve as an effective tool to pressure the regime.”
He added: “When over 1.7 million voters register for elections, they will be expressing their opposition to the Brotherhood’s current approach and they will be seeking gradual reforms.”
As for the Islamic movement’s decision to insist on boycotting the elections, Fayez said that “the way will be hard, bumpy and rough.”
However, he pledged that the state would continue [moving] forward until it had “gradually achieved comprehensive reforms and the Islamists will end up being the biggest losers.”
Fayez continued: “If the Brotherhood keeps adopting the same approach, they will certainly regret their hasty decisions that lack political maturity.”
The former PM gave details regarding his recent mediation efforts, and said: “I offered a way out, that would allow for reforms and bring an end to the boycott. I suggested the three votes system, where one vote goes for the constituency, another for the national list and the third vote for the province. This would allow citizens to elect 12 additional representatives in the future parliament. However, they rejected my offer and I know that government officials were going to approve my proposal because they are serious about including all segments of society.”
Fayez noted that he held talks with the Brotherhood about the constitutional amendments that would limit the king’s powers.
He explained that “demanding to undermine the royal role is unacceptable, given the country's nature and composition; we are not in Britain.”
He noted that “the Hashemite regime is a point of reference and the only thing that guarantees society’s composition and Jordanian identity.”
Regarding the future government that Islamists are calling for, Fayez said: “They demand the inclusion of a provision that stipulates the term ‘parliamentary government’ in the constitution.”
He continued: “I told them that we are starting a new experience. First and foremost, we need to place the issue in the hands of the king, who would then lead consultations with various parliamentary blocs.”
Fayez hoped that “the Brotherhood will reexamine its decisions and I will be grateful if they contact me, however I will not take the initiative to contact them.”
Fayez’s statement to Al-Hayat coincided with two different responses from the most mobilizing and organized group in the country.
While the Brotherhood’s second-in-command Zaki Bani Rashied told Al-Hayat that “no serious offer was provided to us,” the senior leader Arheel Gharabiya responded by saying that “Fayez deserves thanks for his initiative,” adding “the most important thing is to support any initiative that aims at breaking the one-man, one-vote system. It is unacceptable to refuse to cooperate with anyone.”
This comes as the Brotherhood began work on Sept. 27 to organize the largest popular campaign aimed at publicizing next month’s demonstrations, which it has called “the sacred march.”
Brotherhood sources in Amman told Al-Hayat “that the Brotherhood [in Jordan] has been inspired by its counterpart in Egypt about how to mobilize masses in the upcoming protests.”
As of Sept. 27, 72 activist groups had said that they will join the Brotherhood’s demonstrations, which would disclose the real weight of the group.
Al-Hayat learned that a delegation of Jordanian Islamic leaders returned from Cairo on Sept. 26. However, the delegation didn’t reveal the reasons behind their visit.