Islamists cry foul after losing big in JEA’s controversial elections

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AMMAN — Mainstream Islamist movement has received a new blow to its political stature after losing big in the Jordan Engineers Association(JEA) elections last week. The recent loss came few weeks after the Islamic Action Front Party (IAF) decided to boycott next March provincial, municipal, and Greater Amman council elections.اضافة اعلان

Friday’s JEA elections were marred by allegations of irregularities, fraud, and government interference leading the Islamist bloc to announce its withdrawal from the race on Saturday. A coalition of leftists and independents, Numow, swept the provincial branches councils and defeated the Islamist bloc ending years of their control of the central body of one of the largest associations in the kingdom.

The Islamist biggest loss was in the governorates, especially Zarqa which has been a stronghold for many years.

Political analysts and experts interviewed by Jordan News said that the decision to refrain from contesting the upcoming municipal and provincial elections will weaken the image of the party and decrease its ability to engage in political activity.

Political analyst and columnist, Omar Kallab, told Jordan News that the ideology of political Islam in our country needs a radical review as “society has moved in a different direction and radical Islam no longer represents it, especially in light of new and more current types of movements”.

“I am afraid that this partisan mentality will continue to cause the party more and more losses while creating a void and loss in the political scene, but the biggest loss will affect the party itself,” said Kallab,  

“If this mentality continues to control them, I expect that the party will see further losses, and will become a marginalized body,” he added.

Writer and journalist, Hilmi Asmar, told Jordan News that some parties are working to narrow and limit the role of Islamists, “and if that happened, it would be very bad, especially since they are a major component of Jordanian society”.

Asmar added that “eliminating the moderate Islamic trend will create extremist Islamic movements, and this will certainly threaten societal peace”.

Lawmaker Saleh Armouti, told Jordan News that “the role of the Islamists is evidently diminishing, especially after their loss in the JEA elections.

Armouti added that “if they found the general atmosphere appropriate, they would have participated in the elections, especially since they had participated in previous elections, but what is happening now must be a strong message for the decision-maker, that Jordan has clearly retracted in freedom of opinion and expression. A matter that does not serve the state in any way, especially in the complex political conditions we are currently facing, which requires that we all be on the same boat”.

Secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front, Murad Al-Adayleh, told Jordan News that the Islamists’ reluctance to participate in the municipal elections “is a result of lack of freedom of speech that was clearly seen at the JEA elections”.

Adayleh added that “some of our supporters asked us not to participate in the previous round of the elections because of the interference of some parties which leads to dishonesty, but despite that we insisted on participating. I can say that what happened in the JEA elections confirmed to us the soundness of our decision that we better not participate in the upcoming elections.”

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