Friday, January 29, 2010

This is exactly what the West have in mind when it speaks of reforms

"Yet beneath the kingdom's glossy surface lies an autocratic underbelly. Despite economic liberalisation, the political reforms of the early 1990s have stalled. While Abdullah talks the language of change, domestic supporters have grown frustrated at his inability or unwillingness to push reform past Jordan's entrenched elites. No international observers were permitted during the 2007 elections, amid recurring claims that electoral boundaries were re-drawn to ensure a pro-regime result, particularly at the expense of Jordan's under-represented Palestinian majority. Even this engineered parliament had restricted power, with the king legally able to rule for long periods without it. Furthermore, strict laws muted the fledgling independent press and Jordan recently slipped behind Egypt in its ranking for journalistic freedom. Human Rights Watch complains of regular prisoner abuse and of governors bypassing the judicial system to detain people without trial."