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Jordan's King: I'm in Power to Reform, Not Control

King Abdullah II says his goal is to stimulate reform away from a “negative” power struggle, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/24/2012, 5:14 AM

King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II
AFP/File

Jordan’s king on Tuesday said being in power was never for the sake of control and brings “no gain” for his ruling Hashemite family, Al Arabiya reported.

King Abdullah II said his goal was to stimulate reform away from “negative” political power struggle, in reference to recent mass protests led by the country’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Speaking to more than three thousand Jordanians in a conference, the King said, according to Al Arabiya, “My message to you, and to all political parties and forces: If you want to change Jordan for the better, there is a chance through the next elections, and through the upcoming parliament, and if you needed additional reforms, or to develop the electoral law, work on it under the dome of the next parliament, and through the ballot box, which embodies the will of the people.”

The king said citizens have the right to get clear answers to their questions “through practical programs based on fact, and far from theorizing.” “The size of participation, will determine the size of change,” he added.

“The next parliament will be our gateway to inclusive reform,” the king said.

Abdullah’s road map envisions parliament electing a prime minister for the first time ever. Previously, it was the king’s prerogative to appoint a prime minister

The powerful Islamist opposition is boycotting the polls, however, saying that the election system gives too much weight to traditional tribally based conservatives loyal to the monarchy. The conservatives are also skeptical of the reform plan, fearing it will cost them their clout.

Abdullah’s Tuesday remarks underline concerns over Jordan’s stability in the regional turbulence created by the Arab Spring.

Earlier this month, thousands of Islamists demonstrated in central Amman to demand reforms. The protest took place after King Abdullah II dissolved parliament and called early polls without any major political change.

King Abdullah recently urged his country's Islamist opposition to take part in upcoming elections, despite their dissatisfaction with reforms.

He made the appeal in a rare interview on Jordan TV in July, as part of his attempt to engage with the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Numerous demonstrations have taken place in Jordan since January 2011 to call for political and economic reforms and demand an end to corruption.