In September, parliamentary elections took place in Jordan. Although by most indications the process was fair and transparent, Jordan remains a monarchy where the representative body plays a limited role. Yet given Jordan’s high unemployment, an influx of refugees from Syria, and hundreds of subjects who have joined Islamic State (situated on the country’s doorstep) Oded Eran sees reason to believe the king may wish to give parliament a greater role in confronting the nation’s many problems. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, having sat out the previous two elections, participated in this one under a different name, winning a small but significant number of seats. Among Eran’s conclusions are these:
Jordan emerged from the election as an island of stability in a seething Middle Eastern sea, a nation successfully overcoming internal difficulties that have worsened because of the humanitarian and political chaos plaguing the region. . . .
[Under current circumstances], the question of the parliament’s involvement in foreign affairs, in particular Jordanian-Israeli relations, can be expected to resurface. Since the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, the Jordanian parliament has served as a forum for lambasting Israel, opposing processes of normalization, and criticizing the Jordanian government for not severing the bilateral relations.
[The issue of relations with Israel] provides the Muslim Brotherhood with a ready-made platform to attack the government, since [its stance on the subject] is shared with many partners in other political parties. At the same time, the political alliance between the Christian and Circassian communities in Jordan and the Muslim Brotherhood, in its new and less rough-edged form, creates interesting possibilities from Israel’s perspective, as Israel has parallel communities who maintain widespread connections with their brethren in Jordan.