Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood to boycott elections

Main opposition group will not participate in November 9 vote.

muslim brotherhood 311 (photo credit: AP)
muslim brotherhood 311
(photo credit: AP)
The Muslim Brotherhood will not take part in Jordan’s general elections later this year, the movement announced on Sunday.
The Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim brotherhood in Jordan, said the likelihood of electoral fraud made it impossible for the group to take part in the November 9.  
“The decision was adopted by a large majority in the party following consultations and a democratic vote,” Sheikh Hamza Mansour, spokesman for the Islamic Action Front, told The Media Line. “The army received instructions by the government to vote for certain candidates.”
“The last elections in 2007 were filled with irregularities and fraud,” he said. “The party will re-consider its position if the government can provide guarantees for clean elections.”
 “The government has emptied the term democracy from its meaning” he said, arguing that the Jordanian parliament has become a ‘lame duck’.
Christoph Wilcke, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, said that there had been claims of election fraud.
“In the previous elections there were serious allegations of elations fraud and many people here in Jordan think that the new election law is not going to provide a clear representation in parliament,” he told The Media Line
A new election law came in to effect in May 2010. The Islamic Action Front argues the law discriminates against them as it favors voters in rural areas, which traditionally vote for pro-government candidates, as opposed to the cities where they have their strongest support.
The electorate for the lower house of parliament, known as the Chamber of Deputies, is divided into 12 constituency. Some candidates from rural areas may only represent 3000 voters, while candidates from the capital Amman may represent 90,000 voters.
This had led the Islamic Action Front to call for a ‘one man, one vote’ system, abolishing the constituencies.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan have established a social network where they provide services that they say are being neglected by the governments.
The upper house of the parliament, the senate, has 55 members, all appointed by the king.       
When elections were held in 2007, 6 of the 22 candidates for the Islamic Action Front were elected, compared to 17 in 2003.
The upcoming elections will be held as the Jordanian King Abdullah decides to dissolve the current parliament in November 2009 following complaints of widespread inefficiency and allegations of corruption among some members of parliament.