AMMAN — The Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday decided to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections, expected to be held later this year.
The Brotherhood’s 53-member shura council reached the decision in a meeting late Thursday.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Samih Maaytah reiterated the government’s commitment to encourage participation by all in the upcoming elections, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Maaytah said political reform is based on the active participation of all parties, stressing that opinions may differ over the Elections Law but this need not affect the decision to participate in the polls.
A majority of 49 shura council members voted for boycotting the elections, an Islamist leader told The Jordan Times.
Boycotting the elections, according to deputy overall leader of the Brotherhood Zaki Bani Rsheid, is in line with the movement’s stance towards the “deteriorating reform process” in Jordan.
He added that this is aimed at sending a message to the authorities to urge them to review the reform process in its entirety to meet the aspirations of the people.
On Wednesday, representatives of 35 popular movements decided to boycott the parliamentary polls, calling for a campaign to urge the public to follow suit.
“We are here to say no to the elections and to the way our country is being run,” leaders of the movements said at a meeting convened by the Brotherhood to discuss the appropriate position that should be taken towards the Elections Law.
During the meeting, which lasted for over four hours, the activists criticised what they described as the government’s “limited” amendments to the Elections Law, which were endorsed by both Houses of Parliament.
The amendments increased the number of Lower House seats designated for the proportional list at the national level from 17 to 27, maintaining one vote for each voter on the district level.
The movements said keeping only one vote on the district level is paramount to reinstating the one-person, one-vote formula.
More than 300 participants attended Wednesday’s meeting, which concluded with a statement signed by the 35 leaders of the popular movements across the Kingdom, who also included tribal figures.
In the statement, the popular movements said their participation in the upcoming polls hinges on whether the government amends the Elections Law in a way that abolishes the one-person, one-vote system.
The activists urged citizens to boycott the elections and also called for more constitutional amendments that would allow “national constitutional institutions” to practise their authorities in accordance with the Constitution.
In addition, participants at Wednesday’s event called for the formation of a transitional government to carry out all the required reforms.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the Jordanian Popular Movement Coordination Committee — a coalition of the seven largest popular movements in Jordan — gathered at the Raghadan Complex in downtown Amman to call for constitutional amendments and an elections law that empowers the legislative authority and ensures that elected deputies represent the various brackets of the community. Participants also called for expediting political and economic reform and measures to hold the corrupt accountable, Petra reported.