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AMMAN: Jordan’s electoral authority yesterday set January 23 as the date for a general election after King Abdullah II dissolved parliament despite a boycott pledge by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.
“In line with a royal decree to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Independent Election Commission decided today to set the vote for Wednesday, January 23,” the commission said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency.
“Applications to run for parliament will start on December 22 and last for three days. Government employees who wish to run for parliament must resign before October 22.”
More than two million people have registered to vote, the commission said.
Jordan has a population of 6.7 million, of whom 3.1 million are entitled to vote, according to the commission. King Abdullah last week swore in a new government led by Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur to prepare for the election after he dissolved parliament at the start of October and called a snap poll.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition movement, has said it will boycott the election in protest at constituency boundaries that it says are unfair, and at the failure to move towards a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister, rather than one named by the king.
“The Islamist movement’s position definitely has not changed. Almost all our reform demands have not been met, and the regime is still insisting on its position,” Jamil Abu Baker, spokesman of the Brotherhood, said.
“Such announcements will not affect us as long as the electoral law is not reformed. And there are no genuine reforms to form a base for better and broad political change.”
The new prime minister’s key challenge will be to persuade the Brotherhood to back down on its boycott decision, after the king told him that his government must ensure all Jordanians take part.
He met Islamists leaders and trade unionists on Thursday before announcing his cabinet line-up, but the opposition said in a statement “there was nothing new in the meeting.”