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‘Muslim Brotherhood nearing internal reform overhaul’

By Taylor Luck - Nov 11,2014 - Last updated at Nov 11,2014

AMMAN — The Muslim Brotherhood is one step closer to an internal reform overhaul this week as leaders debated the widest changes to the Islamist movement’s internal policies in nearly five decades, according to members.

In a series of discussions launched on Saturday, veteran members of the Brotherhood have been debating a series of reforms proposed by overall leader Hammam Saeed last month to “increase democracy and transparency” within the group’s governing structures, sources within the movement said.

Among the main topics being discussed are preparations for the dissolution of the Brotherhood’s executive office, the group’s highest governing body, and the selection of a caretaker leadership to oversee the proposed reforms.

The movement is expected to dissolve the executive office by the end of November in order to usher in a host of changes to internal by-laws and electoral processes, the sources said.

Under the biggest changes in Saeed’s proposal, the overall leader of the movement will be directly elected by its wider general assembly rather than its 11-member executive office.

The overhaul also includes a greater separation of the Brotherhood’s internal bodies, redefining the electoral process for the executive committee, strengthening internal party courts and granting greater independence to the movement’s political party, the Islamic Action Front.

The high-level discussions are set to continue through the end of the month, with momentum already gaining for Saeed’s proposal, according to sources within the movement.

The overhaul is a bid by the Brotherhood to end an eight-month dispute between moderates and the group’s conservative faction, which currently dominates leadership posts.

As part of the reform initiative, the Brotherhood leadership is expected to readmit three leading liberal members: Rheil Gharaibeh, Jamal Dheisat and Nabil Kofahi, whose memberships were terminated for their involvement in the National Building Initiative, or Zamzam, in March.

Conservatives, led by Saeed, have come under pressure from the movement’s liberal and youth wings in recent months, who threatened en masse defections over what they declared as a “lack of reform and democracy” within the Islamist movement.

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