Jordanians are set to vote in important parliamentary elections today, for the first time the country’s Pime Minster will be selected based on vote rather than chosen by the King. The new electoral framework is a result of mass protests around the country and dissatisfaction with King Abdullah II and the government. For the past two years protests have been fuelled by political and economic problems, one of the most pressing issues in the country has been the removal of fuel subsidies, along with issues of corruption and incompetent governing.
King Abdullah says these elections are the first step towards a gradual and necessary process for a better democracy, but many are doubtful and believe the elections to be a sham and purely for show. Protests against the elections have rocked every corner of the country on claims that the system is rigged in favour of rural existing tribal leaders and against the urban poor. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition party in Jordan, and four smaller parties are boycotting the polls. Muslim Brotherhood deputy Rsheid tells Rusiya Al-Yaum says government reforms have brought little change and the majority of the power remains in the government not in the hands of the people.
Despite civil unrest throughout the region and uprisings, Jordan is one of the few monarchies to retain control of its government. But, with the largest opposition party boycotting the election and protests around the country, pressure will remain on King Abdullah and the government to make serious changes and devolve some of the power. Without these changes political stability, control of the government and peace may be difficult to maintain.