ASIA/JORDAN - Elections, Archbishop Lahham: all Christian candidates in Islamist lists rejected

Saturday, 24 September 2016 politics   religious minorities   ethnic minorities   islam   muslim brotherhood   political islam  

Credit: Muhammad Hamed

Amman (Agenzia Fides) - Among the 130 members of the new Jordanian Parliament in the political elections held on September 20, only 9 are of Christian faith, equal to the minimum "guaranteed" to the Christian minority from the electoral quota system. "But among them" – says to Agenzia Fides Archbishop Maroun Lahham, Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem "there is not one of the Christian candidates who had presented themselves with lists of Islamist groups".
The quota system - explains Archbishop Maroun to Fides - provides that in each list - including those of Islamic origin, inspired by groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood – there has to be at least one woman among the candidates, a Christian and a member of the Circassian and Chechen minority. This is why some Christian candidates, such as Amman and Madaba, agreed to run for election in Islamist lists. "But then the Islamist orientation voters concentrated their votes on their candidates, leaving out of Parliament all Christians who were candidates in those lists".
The election results confirm that the bloc led by the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, is back in Parliament, obtaining 15 seats out of 130, after the Islamist forces had boycotted the legislative elections in 2010 and 2013. This is the most compact and organized political bloc, since the other candidates elected are mostly representatives of clan or tribal groups joined together only by the shared loyalty to the Hashemite monarchy. "In any case", highlighted "Archbishop Lahham "this does not mean that Islamist MPs will arise in a position of frontal opposition towards the current political system in Jordan: the most fanatical elements were not elected, and those among them who entered Parliament represent the most competent political wing, able to deal with other parliamentarians and with the government according to the logic of their political dialectic".
In addition to the quota destined to Christians, the Jordanian law reserves 15 seats for women and three to Circassians and Chechens. Only 56 members of the previous Parliament were re-elected. And even among Christian parliamentarians there was a significant change: "Of the 9 baptized elected" confirms to Fides Archbishop Lahham "only three were already part of the previous Parliamentary Assembly. The other six are "freshers". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 24/09/2016)