Jordan’s Brotherhood excluded from parliamentary committees

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood risks being dissolved after court decision and as its popular base erodes.
Friday 25/12/2020
Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his son Crown Prince Hussein inaugurate the 19th Parliament’s non-ordinary session in Amman, December 10. (AFP)
Jordan’s King Abdullah II and his son Crown Prince Hussein inaugurate the 19th Parliament’s non-ordinary session in Amman, December 10. (AFP)

AMMAN--The Muslim Brotherhood group in Jordan suffered a new setback, as it failed to hold a seat in any of the fifteen parliamentary committees. Thus, and for all practical purposes, the group finds itself outside the parliamentary equation.

The group, represented by the National Reform Alliance, succeeded in winning only six seats in the last November 10 parliamentary elections, losing about two-thirds of the seats it won in the previous legislative elections (16 seats).

The group was unable to form coalitions, as the Parliament’s internal rules require having 10% of the total members of the parliament to do that, and most of the committees devolved to the new representatives, who numbered 98 out of 130 deputies.

Most of the committees were constituted through elections, while 5 committees were formed by consensus.

The new assembly is different from its predecessors  as it aims to break the stereotypical image perpetuated by the previous assemblies through harder and more efficient work hoping to meet the expectations and aspirations of the Jordanian street.

Analysts believe that the Brotherhood’s failure to be on any of the committees will practically lead to its side-lining on all issues inside the parliament, and thus, it will lose all influence, especially in the legislative process.

Parliament used to be the Brotherhood’s only outlet for political action through the presence of representatives from its political arm, the Islamic Action Front. But the situation has changed, and this party today has no weight in the parliament, while the Brotherhood is being dogged by court cases demanding its dissolution.

The Ministry of Social Development recently published an official announcement in the Jordanian media about the decision issued by the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in the Kingdom, last June, decreeing the dissolution of the Brotherhood, in a step the latter considered hostile and indicating the existence of an official will to implement the judicial decision.

The Court of Cassation stated in its decision No. 2013/2020, that “the Muslim Brotherhood Association, which was established in 1946, is considered dissolved from the date of June 16, 1953, in implementation of the provision of Article 12 of the Charitable Societies Law No. 36 of 1953 published on page 550 of the Official Gazette No. 1134, and one month after its publication in the Official Gazette.”

In its publication, the Ministry of Social Development called on creditors and civilians to get in touch with it with regard to any financial or other rights against the association, with supporting documents, within a period of one month from the publication of the announcement.

Reacting to the ministry’s announcement, the group said that the said announcement “comes in the context of a broad official campaign targeting the path of reform, democracy, freedoms and human rights in the country.”

“The strict application of the Defence Law is being expanded such that a wide range of national forces, parties, trade unions and personalities have been targeted. The official measures aimed at ending political life, violating freedoms and human rights, and disrupting the path of national reform continue without interruption,” the group said in a statement.

The statement added that “the group, which was not surprised by the recent official action, which is the culmination of the plan to target national forces and official bodies, including the Muslim Brotherhood, expresses its condemnation of this arbitrary measure.” The statement further added that “the group is an idea and a message that cannot be cancelled by a decision, nor by any procedure, and that its realistic legitimacy that has withstood for more than seven decades is stronger than any decision or procedure.”

The statement did not fail to allude to a conspiracy, by pointing out that “targeting the group at this delicate and sensitive time that our country and nation are going through, which calls for strengthening the home front and strengthening community cohesion, reflects confusion, narrow-mindedness and placing narrow considerations and delusional interests above national interests, especially since the evidence considered for taking the decisions cannot be considered as a legal argument against the group, especially since it was not a party to the case that was relied upon in the formation of the committee.”

Observers believe that the Jordanian Ministry of Social Development has published the judicial decision issued against the group as a prelude to its implementation on the ground, and that there is an order issued at the highest level of power to proceed with it.

The executive power had previously hesitated to implement the judicial decisions issued against the Muslim Brotherhood due to considerations observers said were political and related to concerns about the group’s reactions.

Observers believe that these concerns have eased in light of the awareness of decision-makers in the kingdom that the Brotherhood no longer holds great sway with the public due to the erosion of its popular base, which was confirmed by its low performance in the last legislative elections.

In recent years, the Muslim Brotherhood has been subjected to fatal blows, perhaps the most prominent of which were the internal splits that afflicted it and affected its top leaders.

Today, the Brotherhood in Jordan seems to be constrained by the new reality and no longer possesses the power to manoeuvre or put pressure on decision-makers in the kingdom, amid expectations that it is likely to face even greater splits, especially that many of the group’s cadres and members were reluctant to participate in the last election.