Jordan opposition insist on scheduled poll

AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Jordan's Islamic-led opposition parties have expressed their opposition to the possible postponement of general elections scheduled for June 2007.

The Higher Coordination Committee of the opposition parties led by the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood Organization, Tuesday called for holding the elections as scheduled and said it decided to form a preparatory committee to ensure the highest level of public participation possible.


The call came amid reports of debates being held at the government level about delaying the elections and extending the term of the existing parliament, which was elected in 2003, due to concern about the growing influence of Islamists and the likely expansion of their representation if elections were held as scheduled.

The Islamic movement in Jordan is linked to the Islamic militant group Hamas, which won Palestinian elections by a landslide in January.

Several weeks ago, the Jordanian Islamists expressed concern about a possible postponement of the poll which they insisted should be held on time although they had not yet decided whether or not to participate.

The Islamic Action Front, the biggest opposition bloc in parliament, holds 15 seats after a constitutional edict stripped two of its members of their seats in September.

The dismissed lawmakers were convicted by the state's security court of undermining national unity and stirring sectarian divisions after expressing their condolences for the family of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the former chief of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in a U.S. raid near Baghdad earlier this year.

Zarqawi's group had claimed responsibility for the triple bombings of Amman hotels last November in which 60 Jordanians were killed and scores injured.

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