Party mergers are fundamental for future of political action — analysts

A woman casts a ballot in municipal elections in this undated photo. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The merger of the Wasat Al-Islami and Zamzam parties into the National Coalition was met with mixed reactions from politicians; some welcomed the move as aligning with the amended political parties draft law, which favors larger parties with broad membership from across the governorates, while others did not expect a change in the party’s agenda, saying the change is only in the name.اضافة اعلان

Political analyst Hamada Al-Faraaneh told Jordan News that he saw the merge as a bold and fundamental step; unprecedented since the return of partisan and democratic life to Jordan in 1989.

Faraaneh said the move represents a step forward in Jordan’s political reform, voicing hope that the merge would bring a strong centrist party to the political arena that can push its way between the Islamic Action Front (IAF) and the coalition of leftist and nationalist parties, which are considered the right and left wings, respectively.

Faraaneh noted that the “two parties have a lot in common”, and that they would not have taken this big step without the agreement of the two parties’ leaders. He said he hoped that the democratic confrontation that this coalition will engage in during the upcoming election cycles, including municipal and provincial councils, as well as parliamentary elections, will demonstrate its strength and credibility.

Political activist Mohammad Al-Zawahreh told Jordan News that he saw the merger as an attempt to reproduce political Islam to become more associated with national issues.

While both parties are offshoots of the IAF, Zawahreh contended that one of the party’s problems was the lack of a national program; instead “it was frequently affiliated with regional issues and prioritized regional interests over national interests.”

“I don’t want to see this in the new National Coalition,” he said.

The merger of the two parties, according to Zawahreh, demonstrates a rise in the forces of post-political Islam, which in his view is a step in the right direction. Zamzam has already demonstrated its ability to present a strong national Islamist approach, which is exactly what the next political stage requires, he said.

Political analyst Omar Al-Raddad concurs that the two “split” parties from the Muslim Brotherhood more than 10 years ago share many commonalities. The principles and concepts of both parties are similar and adhere to Islamic principles, but are distant from political action, he said. “However, this integration might be able to compensate for a flaw in the Muslim Brotherhood’s political programs,” he added.

Raddad believes that it could be possible for this National Coalition to have a strong presence in the upcoming parliamentary elections, especially given Al-Wasat Al-Islami Party’s parliamentary experience. He also believes that other Islamic parties may join this coalition to form a partisan force that has never existed before.

According to Raddad, amendments to the Parties Law aim to enable parties to reach maturity through the creation of real political agendas and actions that are neither purely religious nor opposition.  In his view, state authorities aspire for three major political ideologies; right-wing, left-wing, and centrist, and the goal is for one of those blocs to gain a majority in Parliament and form a government; a trend that would encourage more voters and candidates in the future. 

Raddad said one third of the House seats has already been designated to partisans, which indicates that the number of seats would eventually increase in the upcoming election cycles. “I expect to see elections for a full party parliament after three more elections,” he said.

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