Elections in Jordan: Victory for Reform or More of the Same?

Author:DeAtkine, Norvell

By Andrew Spath and Michael Makara http://www.fpri.org/articles/2013/02/elections-jordan-victory-reform-or-more-same

The authors quite correctly assess the latest parliamentary elections as changing little in the process of moving Jordan further along on the road to a working democracy. The parliament remains a weak institution and does not provide an outlet for the citizens to express their grievances nor check King Abdullah's power. It primarily provides, as the authors write, "an adjustment at the edges."

The king tried very hard to get people interested in the election and the political process but in terms of the eligible voting population, only 35% participated. The authors correctly point out that the king is too pragmatic to dogmatically pursue liberal democratization, particularly viewing the chaos of the "Arab Spring." Neither do the Jordanians have the economic largess to buy off dissidents as in the Arab Gulf.

The authors of the article make a good case for the importance of Jordan to the U.S., particularly in view of the unsettled environment in Iraq and the continuing civil war in Syria. The importance of Jordan to Israel security is also a vital consideration of the U.S. With over half of the Jordanian population originally Palestinian and most still viewing Palestine as their...

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