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Jordan Opposition Fear Govt. Reform Snub

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TEHRAN, May 11 (ICANA) – Opposition groups in Jordan have expressed concern at the government's failure to address calls for political and economic reforms in the kingdom.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 10:48:43 PM
Jordan Opposition Fear Govt. Reform Snub

Abla Abu Olbeh, secretary general of Jordan's Democratic People's Party, accused the government of trying to divide pro-reform groups and dissuade them from demanding constitutional and economic changes in the country, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Jordan witnessed a series of demonstrations -- starting on December 2010 -- by protesters calling for political reforms and limiting the exclusive powers of King Abdullah II.

But political parties and new opposition groups have not staged any protests for the past three weeks.

Some analysts attribute the drop in the number of protests to a wait-and-see approach by pro-reform groups and a couple of violent incidents during the three-month-long demonstrations, which left two people dead and hundreds of others injured.

However, Abu Olbeh said that a recent hike in oil prices and government corruption has once again led to nationwide dissatisfaction.

Another reason the protests in Jordan lost steam is because opposition groups are analyzing and reviewing regional developments, critics say.

The revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt are being compared to the uprisings in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, where anti-government protesters are faced with violent crackdowns.

Olbeh stressed that dialogue between political and social groups, seasoned with governmental reforms, is the only path towards attaining freedom and democracy in the Arab world.

Jordan's activists are calling for a parliamentary government, a constitutional court, new election law and anti-corruption measures.

They also want the ouster of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit and intelligence chief Mohammed Raqqad. They say that the regime has committed "crimes against humanity."

Jordan's king, who has already offered a series of concessions to end the protests, has reportedly called for an early election by the end of 2011.

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