Jordan Opens Negotiations With Muslim Brotherhood

Article Summary
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has ordered negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood in hopes of reversing its planned boycott of parliamentary elections later this year. Tamer Samadi also reports that the Brotherhood is planning its biggest demonstration yet.

Sources from the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Jordan revealed to Al-Hayat yesterday [Sept. 20] new details about a mediation team led by a former Jordanian figure close to the royal court. The mediation aims at dissuading the Brotherhood from boycotting parliamentary elections scheduled before the end of the year, the sources said.

Former head of the royal court Jawad Anani told the Jordanian News Agency (Petra) yesterday evening: “My contacts with the Islamic Movement are for nationalistic purposes and I have not been entrusted by anyone with this mission.” 

Anani added that he had “stressed to the movement’s leaders the need to achieve change from inside the parliament not outside.”

However, sources from the Brotherhood said that “the new mediation processed was launched by the royal court” and that it was being led by “Anani, who met with a number of the Brotherhood’s leaders on Wednesday [Sept. 19], emphasizing that he is delegated by King Abdullah II of Jordan to dissuade us from boycotting elections.”

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Al-Hayat learned that Jamil Abou Bar, Atef Joulani and Faraj Chalhoub are among the leaders that Anani met with, and all of them are members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political circle.

The sources explained that Anani asked the Brotherhood to launch a new initiative that guarantees their participation in the future political process. A prominent leader of the Brotherhood told Al-Hayat that “the Higher Committee for Reform will hold an urgent meeting the day after tomorrow to discuss the new initiative that would be submitted to the royal mediator.”

It is worth noting that the Higher Committee for Reform emanates from the Brotherhood and is headed by Salem Flayhan, a leader of an extremist element within the Brotherhood.

Sources from the Brotherhood leadership revealed that the movement sought to adopt a new version of the electoral law that involves “the system where each man receives three votes in each circumscription, while the fourth vote is preserved for the national electoral list.”

Leaders of the Brotherhood have started to express their willingness to postpone their demands regarding the constitutional amendments until elections are over. These amendments would affect the king’s powers to dissolve parliament and to form and dismiss a government.

These leaders also said that the Brotherhood may move away from the demand to elect the Senate, the higher chamber of parliament that the king appoints. However, the sources asserted that there is a new vision that calls for “reducing the number of seats in the Senate to a quarter of the members of parliament, provided that the king selects the members from political blocs that are expected to win the elections.”

Moreover, Al-Hayat received a copy of an internal memorandum that the Brotherhood distributed to its managerial staff in the provinces. This memorandum seeks to mobilize opposition demonstrations at the beginning of next month, asserting that the number of participants will exceed 50,000.

The four page memorandum includes a call to the Brotherhood managerial staff to meet on a daily basis to “make sure that the plan aiming at successfully mobilizing the protests — which are scheduled for Oct. 10 —  is implemented.” 

The memorandum stated: “Each member is asked to have a road map for mobilizing masses within the remaining time. All members, including those who are sick even and will be transported by vehicles, are expected to participate.”

It continued: “Every member of the Brotherhood must be dedicated to communicate with his relatives, close friends, acquaintances, fellow employees and various Islamic groups and patriots who are eager to preserve the nation.”

The memorandum also called for the formation of hotbeds to communicate with civil society activists and leaders and focus on the participation of groups affiliated with universities, schools and women’s organizations.

The note includes a call addressed to the Brotherhood managerial staff and supporters to step out of their vehicles on the demonstration day, protest in the streets and not to return to their houses if security forces prevent them from reaching the central demonstration points, which will be located in the center of Amman.

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