Jordan opposition ups pressure on govt for reforms

Jordan`s opposition accuses govt of not taking reforms seriously.

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2011, 21:59 PM IST

Amman: Jordan`s opposition movement on Saturday
threatened to up the pressure on the government, which it
accuses of not taking reforms seriously, amid a debate over
whether the sweeping changes they demand could destabilise the
country.

"The regime must understand that it must reform to
survive, and that the longer it delays, the louder the calls
for change will become," Zaki Bani Rsheid, a member of the
opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF) said.

Yesterday several thousand people demonstrated in the
centre of the Jordanian capital in a "Day of Anger" to call
for political reforms -- in the largest demonstration in Amman
since protests began in January.
Bani Rsheid, a member of the IAF`s executive
committee, warned the government of the "repercussions of
underestimating the seriousness of the political situation."

The reforms demanded by the IAF -- Jordan`s largest
opposition party -- are similar to those sought by leftist
parties, Jordan`s tribal groupings, students and military
veterans.

All of them are demanding constitutional reforms and a
crackdown against corruption. The Islamists also want the
prime minister to be elected rather than appointed by the
monarch.

Leftists seek the scrapping of amendments to the 1952
constitution, which was promulgated by King Abdullah II`s
grandfather King Talal.
The document already has been amended 29 times, giving
greater power to the monarch and weakening the legislature,
experts say.

"We will raise our voices until the government takes
reforms seriously," Bani Rsheid said.

The IAF and the Muslim Brotherhood were to meet
Saturday night to "consider what steps to take", he said.

"The government has one month to implement reforms, in
which time protests and demonstrations will continue," Rsheid
said.

"We no longer trust the government`s promises, which
are obviously made only to buy time and calm things down
without actually doing anything," he added.

Bureau Report