Jordan's Prime Minister Resigns as Post-Election Storm Grows

Article Summary
Repercussions from the recent elections in Jordan continue to shake the political scene as Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour submits his resignation to King Abdullah II, reports Tamer al-Samadi.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour has submitted his resignation to King Abdullah II, a few days after parliamentary elections produced gains for tribal forces. Meanwhile, a royal decree was issued on Monday appointing ex-Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh to succeed Riyadh Abu Karaki, a former Jordanian army general, as director of the Royal Hashemite Court.

Al-Hayat has learned that authorities plan to inaugurate a new official channel for dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood in the near future. The Brotherhood, one of the country's major opposition groups, boycotted the recent elections in protest of the election law.

Ensour delivered a private resignation to the king in anticipation of the process of forming a new government that has been a topic of discussion for some time among governing bodies. Moreover, there has been a flurry of talk around the royal palace for the past two days, as major government figures discuss how to form the next government.

Informed sources close to the decision-makers stated that “the resignation of Ensour will neither be public nor final before the completion of the government formation discussions. It could be put off until next week.” The sources added, “Ensour will remain a strong candidate for the position once again, unless sudden developments occur and alter the status quo,” noting that “the door for candidacy to be prime minister up until the last fifteen minutes. Who knows, there might be certain surprises!”

The Centrist Islamic Party, which won 17 seats in the last elections (including some dissidents from the Brotherhood and others known for their public affiliations), announced Monday that party leader Marwan al-Faouri will run for prime minister. The party also nominated its electoral list head, Muhammad al-Haj, a former leader who split from the Brotherhood, as speaker of parliament.

However, the announcement of this party’s shocking nominations clashed with the ambitions and desires of new parliamentary members rushing to form new coalitions. The aim was for the coalitions to be larger than those affiliated with the new Islamic Party in order to compete for the premiership nominations and for the presidency of the new parliament.

The royal palace recently confirmed that future governments will be formed according to new mechanisms. There will be negotiations to this end with parliamentary blocs holding a majority of parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, an unexpected and sudden royal decree was issued Monday appointing Tarawneh as director of the Hashemite Royal Court. Tarawneh is a shrewd statesman and partisan of the official conservatives. He was prime minister in 1998, 1999 and 2012; during his rule, King Hussein Bin Talal died and Abdullah took over. According to reputable sources, decision-makers hope that Tarawneh will be capable of leading quick and urgent negotiations with the parliamentary blocs to form the new government. They are also relying on him to lead a new dialogue with the active components of the current political scene. During the past years, Tarawneh has become known for doing what is asked of him quite accurately, and for being a good manager of the pawns in the political game, in accordance with the inclinations of decision-makers.

Similarly, Al-Hayat has learned that authorities plan to inaugurate a new official channel for dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood. There was also news about official parties sending the Brotherhood indications of a possible détente soon, and there were indications that the next government will hold a series of dialogues with Brotherhood leaders.

Prominent Brotherhood leaders, in turn, expressed their readiness to accept any call for dialogue from the government in order to reach a new consensus. Speaking from Davos on Sunday, Jordan's king asserted “the importance of devising a way to reintegrate the Brotherhood in the various future reforms.”

Found in: jordanian independent election commission, islamist

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