NEWS: Jordan prepares for undemocratic elections

Jordan, fearing Islamists, tightens grip on elections

This month’s legislative elections were supposed to be a watershed in this pro-American kingdom’s slow but committed march to democratic change.

But Hamas’s rise to power in the Palestinian Authority and its violent takeover of Gaza in June have cast a heavy shadow over politics in Jordan, where a Hashemite monarch maintains a tight, authoritarian grip on a restive Palestinian majority and an activist Islamic opposition.

As a result, the government has dropped plans to change its byzantine electoral law, prohibited some critics from seeking office and threatened to bar independent observers from the polls. And, with less than two weeks before the Nov. 20 vote, opposition candidates are accusing the government of rampant voter fraud. [complete article]

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