Jordan’s King Abdullah Issues Decree to Hold Parliamentary Elections

AMMAN (Reuters) -
jordan israel
Jordan’s King Abdullah II. (Flash 90/File)

Jordan has set Nov. 10 as the date for parliamentary elections, hours after a royal decree to hold a countrywide poll, state media said Wednesday.

Jordan’s parliament has legislative powers but its electoral law marginalizes the representation of political parties and most MPs rely on family and tribal allegiances. Constitutionally most powers rest with the king, who appoints governments and has the final say over new laws.

The election will be held at a time the aid-dependent country grapples with a severe economic contraction with the impact of COVID-19 amid heightened worries about any unilateral Israeli move to annex territory in Yehudah and Shomron and the Jordan Valley.

Officials fear that annexation would bury the prospect of a viable Palestinian state and eventually bring a settlement of the decades-old conflict at the expense of Jordan, a country where many people are descendants of refugees whose families left after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The electoral law keeps intact a system that limits the representation of those of Palestinians origin in favor of native Jordanians who are the backbone of the country’s political establishment.

Jordan’s main political opposition comes from a party drawn from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood movement but it faces legal curbs on its activities.

Opposition politicians say the government has been using draconian emergency laws enacted last March at the start of the coronavirus lockdown to limit civil and political rights. Activists have been arrested in recent weeks over comments on social media.