Amman (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - The Jordanian parliament has banned the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the country's main opposition party, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. In the lower house, 46 out of 83 members yesterday voted to outlaw any political party based on religion or ethnicity. Now the vote goes to the upper house for final approval. Effectively, this means that the IAF will not be able to take part in next parliamentary elections.
For the leaders of the Islamist movement, the government is trying to silence the opposition to ensure the continued dominance of tribal groups loyal to the regime.
"This is only the latest in a series of measures by deputies to limit the influence of political parties and any dissenting views in parliament," Zaki Bani Rsheid, head of the IAF's politburo, said.
"We believe all Jordanian citizens-not only Islamists-should have the right to form a political party without conditions," he added.
The proposal was made by Mamdouh Abbadi, deputy speaker of the lower house, and is part of a draft political parties bill presented to parliament in response to last year's Arab spring protests by pro-democracy parties and later embraced by the Islamist opposition.
Starting on14 January 2011, people began protesting against poverty, youth unemployment and corruption with demonstrations continuing until the present.
Faced with the emergency, King Abdullah II changed prime minister twice. Then Prime Minister Samir Rifai resigned in February 2011 after two weeks of protests amidst accusations of corruption. His successor, Marouf Bakhit, who held office in 2005, quit on 17 October 2011 also because of corruption charges.
Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, a judge and former vice president of the International Court of Justice, is the current prime minister.