Veteran politician Hani Mulqi was appointed as prime minister by Jordan’s King Abdullah after dissolving parliament by royal decree on Sunday; which comes following the end of its four-year term, and charged him with conducting new elections by October.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s resignation was approved by the monarch, as is accustomed under the constitution, before appointing an interim head of government.
The election should be held within four months under the constitution and after the lower house made an amendment to the electoral laws in March, government sources and political analysts say it is expected that more candidates from political parties shall be vying for votes with traditional tribal and family allegiances.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood movement, considered as the key source of Jordan’s main political opposition to the government, is dealing with growing legal restrictions on its activities, thus having mostly pro-monarchy parties and some independent Islamists and politicians left to compete in the elections, the sources say.
In 2011, under pressure from the popular protests across the Arab world, Jordan’s parliament endorsed constitutional changes that devolved some of the monarch’s powers to the parliament.
However, political analysts say tribal lawmakers who dominated the last parliament resisted any change which they saw undermining their influence and maintained a system that favors sparsely populated tribal regions which benefit most from state patronage and the support of the monarchy.