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Middle East
Jordan backtracks on electoral law
Activist accuses government of "handpicking" its opponents for the next parliament.
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2007 19:50 GMT
King Abdullah, centre, is the most powerful figure in the country despite the electoral system [EPA]

Jordan's government has reversed plans to change the country's electoral law, preventing some critics from standing for office just days before legislative elections.
 
Toujan al-Faisal, a political activist barred from the election, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the government was trying to "handpick the opposition for the next parliament".
"The intimidation of candidates can be seen through the banners and the platforms presented, which are all void of political content," she said.
 
The government has suggested that such measures are necessary to avoid having a Muslim group win power.
 
But al-Faisal dismissed the idea.
"Surveys conducted by the government itself show the Islamists' power is something between 15 and 20 per cent, maximum," she said.
 
"What they [the government] are fighting ... is the more moderate and more democratic ones."
 
A number of Jordanian groups had trained election monitors for the proceedings, but the government has refused to open voter registration to scrutiny by independent observers.
 
Weak legislature
 
King Abdullah, the Jordanian monarch, remains the most powerful figure in the country, with the elected legislators having relatively few powers and rarely introducing legislation.
 
Many accuse the government of unfair practices, including transferring voters to areas where their candidates need greater support.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Action Front, Jordan's only significant opposition party, is fielding a mere 22 candidates for 110 seats in the election, saying it is disillusioned with the process.
 
The group, which has much support in urban areas, especially among Jordan's naturalised Palestinian population, boycotted municipal elections in July, saying the government was using soldiers to interfere with the vote.
 
The party alleged that the military's voters were being directed toward centres where Islamic Action Front candidates were running and casting votes in favour of rival candidates.
Source:
Al Jazeera
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