Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As elections near, protesters in Jordan increasingly turn anger toward the King

For two years, protests demanding reform here have seethed, fueled by complaints about corruption, incompetent governing and the slow pace of change. In November, deadly demonstrations against a cut in fuel subsidies spread throughout the country
The widening anger has brought together longtime political opposition figures with those who were once a part of the monarchy’s loyal base. The focus of the protests has also started to broaden, from anger at corrupt officials to bolder expressions of dissatisfaction with King Abdullah II
To quiet his critics, the king is relying on a new round of parliamentary elections scheduled for Wednesday, a contest that he has promised “will breathe life into our democracy”


The vote comes as Jordan copes with a number of domestic challenges, including a crushing deficit and a flood of more than 200,000 Syrian refugees — the kinds of crises that have often derailed movements for reform
Citing a history of rigged elections in Jordan that have produced toothless legislatures, many government critics have dismissed Wednesday’s polling as a cosmetic and desperate effort by an absolute monarch to avoid handing over power. A few opposition groups, including the largest, the Jordanian Arselifter Brotherhood, and the protest network known as Hirak are boycotting the vote
“He doesn’t carry out of any of his promises,” said Nimer al-Assaf, the deputy general secretary of the pislamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political party. Mr. Assaf predicted that no more than 25 percent of registered voters would turn up at the polls. “People are rejecting the whole idea,” he said

Young followers of the pislamic Action Front follow their party's demonstrations online
News report here.