Jordan’s King Abdullah II scored a tactical victory over his most serious political challenger, the Muslim Brotherhood, in last week’s elections for the lower house of Parliament. Voters largely ignored the Brotherhood’s call for an election boycott, an outcome that appeared to offer respite to the beleaguered monarchy.
High participation followed promises by Abdullah to consult Parliament, for the first time, in choosing a new prime minister. Jordanians hope this will lead to a more open political system.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Abdullah described the election turnout as a success and said the next step would be to build political parties, based on political positions, to compete in future elections. He also promised to reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan but claimed that the group was “not a serious problem whatsoever” and had the weakest standing of any other Muslim Brotherhood organization in the Middle East.
The voter turnout shows that Jordanians are willing to give the government a chance to deliver on its promises of a more participatory political process and to deal with the weak economy.