As Elections Near, Amman Courts Muslim Brotherhood, Leftists

Article Summary
Following the Muslim Brotherhood’s decision to boycott forthcoming parliamentary elections in Jordan, Amman’s rulers have commenced behind-the-scenes negotiations in a bid to prevent leftist and nationalist opposition parties from following suit. Tamer Samadi reports on these secret talks.

Over the past week, there has been intensive dialogue in the Jordanian capital between intermediaries for the Royal Palace and representatives of nationalist and leftist parties, which are opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This dialogue aims to encourage these parties to participate in the parliamentary elections scheduled to take place before the end of the year, after the Muslim Brotherhood decided to boycott the vote.

Official and political sources told Al-Hayat that a group of former officials — the “intermediaries for the royal palace” — had initiated talks in a bid to produce a new parliament with a “political flavor,” since the country’s most prominent Islamic opposition [the Muslim Brotherhood] intends to boycott the parliamentary elections. 

The sources also confirmed that the intermediaries — which included former ministers such as Mazen al-Sakket — “conveyed direct messages from official institutions, which called upon such forces and figures to decide against the boycott. They guaranteed them that transparency and integrity will prevail during all stages of the upcoming elections.”

Writer and political analyst Fahed al-Kheetan said that “this dialogue aims to contain the Islamic movement’s call to boycott the elections, and to ensure that the new parliament will include figures representing the opposition.”

According to leaks, nationalist and left-wing parties voiced their objection to the government’s policy that considers Islamists “the only representatives of the opposition and the Jordanian public.” 

Meanwhile, political parties and figures are now engaged in the process of forming electoral lists for the upcoming elections, which will be held at a national level. Relevant information indicates that five lists are being formed, including the lists of the Jordanian National Movement and the Jordanian United Front. Moreover, leftist parties and other political movements that include retired military figures are also preparing joint electoral lists.

Well-informed sources from the coalition of nationalist and leftist parties confirmed to Al-Hayat that several meetings were held between the leaders of such parties. These meeting were aimed at reaching “a common position regarding the next political process.”

In this same context, current MP Jamil Nimri, a prominent left-wing figure, is also preparing a national electoral list that includes several liberal and leftist figures and parties. In a statement to Al-Hayat, Nimri noted that “several left-wing parties are forming a national list. The Islamists’ decision to boycott the elections provided us with plenty of space and more opportunities.”

Nimri also pointed out that there was ongoing dialogue between the government and former officials representing several nationalist and leftist parties. Such dialogues aimed to encourage political parties and figures to participate in the elections. He added, “There is one clear truth: The government seeks to constitute a new, real political parliament. The government faces a difficult challenge. Either it succeeds or fails, and if it fails, there will be a crisis.”

Researcher and academic Moussa Barhouma, who is also a supporter of the left-wing movement, spoke to Al-Hayat about these dialogues, describing them as “extremely opportunistic behavior by the government and some parties of the opposition.” He added, “We all know that nationalist and leftist parties have limited power and they will not succeed in forming strong coalitions and electoral blocs.”

In addition, political sources stated to Al-Hayat that there were other similar meetings between politicians, leaders and prominent figures in an attempt to break the stalemate. This is particularly important given that protests in the streets are growing and protesters are getting angrier. During these meetings, a number of suggestions and recommendations were made to end the crisis, as a growing number of protesters are being arrested.

According to the leaks, the most important suggestions focused on establishing new channels of dialogue between various political forces, releasing the detainees and ensuring transparent elections, unlike the previous ones. Such suggestions also included clear calls to prevent corruption and serious solutions to the economic crisis in poor provinces.

There is another important suggestion that calls for the election of a new prime minister who is welcomed by the public and is known for his openness toward protesting forces. Mohamed Abou Raman, a source close to the most notable decision makers, confirmed that a high-ranking official had indicated that the procedure to be followed to elect the next prime minister would be totally different from the former traditional mechanisms. He added that King Abdullah II would discuss the election of the next prime minister with the new parliamentary blocs.

Found in: muslim brotherhood, muslim, jordanian muslim brotherhood, jordan, amman

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