Elections in Jordan: 'The System Is Corrupt'

Photo Gallery: Opposition Group Boycotts Elections in Jordan Photos
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The Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted last week's parliamentary elections in protest at what it sees as a rigged electoral system. SPIEGEL talked to party member Dima Tahboub about the country's political future.

SPIEGEL: Why did your party, the Islamic Action Front, boycott the recent parliamentary elections?

Dima Tahboub: These elections were a farce. The electoral law is undemocratic, it is rigged in favor of the king's loyalists and is designed to restrict the influence of the Islamists. Now we have politicians in parliament who are simply pursuing their own interests. That's not why the people of Jordan took to the streets to protest. They want to see genuine political reform.

SPIEGEL: Despite the boycott, voter turnout was reported to be 56 percent. Do you regret your decision?

Tahboub: We don't believe turnout was that high. The system is corrupt. Many votes were simply bought.

SPIEGEL: Independent Islamists and opposition members will also be represented in the new parliament. Isn't that progress?

Tahboub: There were individual regime critics before. But the majority are not interested in the country's problems, like growing poverty and skyrocketing gas and food prices.

SPIEGEL: There are some in Jordan calling for the abolition of the monarchy. Are you among them?

Tahboub: No. As an Islamic movement, we want to see fundamental, fair reform under the auspices of the Hashemite royal family. Jordan is not ready to be a republic, but it needs a real constitutional monarchy. We do not want a violent overthrow.

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