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Jordan: Crossroads of the troubled Middle East

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-09-21

Following elections in Jordan in which the Islamist IAF party is expected to make significant gains, France 24 takes a closer look at the Hashemite Kingdom at the crossroads of the Middle East (see video below).

The Islamic Action Front was expected to clinch about 20 seats in the 130-member parliament, which would make it the largest opposition force. Results of Tuesday's election are expected Wednesday night. In 2012 and 2013, the IAF boycotted elections, complaining that the electoral system was weighted against them.

Their main complaint is that the country’s political apparatus is still based around a complex tribal system which dates back to the 1916 Arab Revolt, led by the Hashemite family, of which King Abdullah II is the descendant.

The system gives disproportionate clout to rural districts, which tend to return tribal candidates loyal to the monarchy.

The vote comes as Jordan, a country of 6.5 million that shares borders with Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria, wrestles with the spillover of wars in Syria and Iraq and the burden of hosting nearly a million Syrian refugees.

The kingdom is a member of the US-led coalition battling jihadists in both neighbouring countries and was the target of a June 21 suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group that killed seven border guards.

King Abdullah II can appoint and sack the country's military and intelligence chiefs, senior judges and members of parliament's upper house without government approval.

Date created : 2016-09-21

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