Hussein Dissolves Parliament, Sets Election Date
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ King Hussein dissolved Parliament today and scheduled Jordan’s first multi- party legislative elections in 37 years.
State-run Radio Jordan said the king issued a decree dissolving the 80-seat lower house of Parliament, elected in November 1989 on a non-party basis.
The new elections, which have been expected, were scheduled for Nov. 8.
The decision came as the monarch is seeking to weaken the strong bloc of Islamic fundamentalists challenging the government’s economic and political policies.
Political parties were legalized in September as part of the expansion of democracy that Hussein began in 1989, and 20 groups have declared they would field candidates in the elections. Hussein outlawed parties after a left-wing coup attempt in 1957.
The government also is moving forward with plans to amend the country’s 1986 election law, officials said on condition of anonymity.
The proposed amendments are believed to include a one-person-one-vote formula to replace the current system that allows a voter to cast ballots for up to six representatives to the lower house.
The Jordan Times reported today that the Cabinet had drawn up legislation to replace the election law, but said it was not known when the monarch would act on it.
Political observers expected a royal announcement on the issue soon.
The proposed changed in the election law are widely seen as aimed at diluting the parliamentary strength of the Islamic fundamentalists, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the 1989 elections, the group benefited from the bloc voting and won 22 of the 80 seats.
The brotherhood, supported by leftists, had tried in vain to convene an extraordinary parliamentary session to review the government’s proposals, insisting that any change to the election law should pass through the legislature.
The constitution allows the monarch to enact temporary laws and amendments by decree when Parliament is not in session.