Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood to take part in elections

AFP , Monday 21 Sep 2020

File photo: A boy stands near the main entrance of the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Amman, after it was shut by the police acting on orders of the Amman governor. REUTERS

The political wing of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, the country's main opposition party, said Monday it would take part in parliamentary elections in November.

The Islamic Action Front's announcement came two months after Jordan's top court dissolved the country's chapter of the Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist movement.

The IAF, which holds 16 seats in the current legislature, said Monday it had decided "to take part in the coming parliamentary elections" set for November 10.

"The Islamist movement is clearly being targeted and faces vigorous attempts to undermine it due to its national role and charitable efforts," it said in a statement.

"We believe our absence from parliament would be a withdrawal from this battle and a derogation of responsibility."

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, has both charitable and political arms across the Muslim world.

It has faced years of pressure, especially since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings, and has been outlawed as a "terrorist" group in Egypt and banned in several other countries.

Amman had tolerated the group's political arm for decades, but since 2014 authorities have considered it illegal, arguing its licence was not renewed under a 2014 law.

It continued to operate, but its relations with the state deteriorated after the government in 2015 authorised a splinter group, the Muslim Brotherhood Association.

In 2016, security services closed Brotherhood offices across the country and transferred their ownership to the splinter group in a step the movement denounced as political.

In mid-July, after a long court battle to retrieve the properties, Jordan's Court of Cassation ruled the group dissolved for "failing to rectify its legal status under Jordanian law".

The Brotherhood argues that it had already obtained licences to operate under previous laws in the 1940s and 1950s.

The IAF took part in legislative polls in 2016, winning 16 seats, after boycotting previous polls in 2010 and 2013.

The Brotherhood, banned in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has widespread grassroots support in Jordan and is supported by Turkey and Qatar.

The breakaway Muslim Brotherhood Association authorised by Jordan aimed to sever ties with the Brotherhood in Egypt.

Elections are set to go ahead despite the novel coronavirus crisis, which has infected 4,779 people in Jordan and left 30 dead.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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