Shooting the messenger
A recent opinion poll (summary here) by the Jordan Social Research Center has been the focus of some debate. The Islamists made hay over it because it showed that people for the most part would not like to see them getting in power. So, they shoot the messenger.
Of course, the results are similar to previous polls conducted by the center, and are not too different from those conducted by the rival Center for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan. They are not different from actual results from elections, either, or from my own unscientific empirical observations. But as they say: “denial is not a river in Egypt”.
So, the heretical results of the new poll show that only 17% of people want to vote for the IAF in the next elections. These results also show that most people are happy with the one vote election law, and given the choice, would only use one of their votes. This is what is really angering to the Islamists and their leftist and Arabist allies.
In 1989, the Islamists won 22 out of 80 seats available in the parliament at the time. Newly reintroduced elections, general disenchantment with the economy at the time, the fact that the Islamists were the only legal political organization for the previous 30 years helped them in achieving this result. However, the multiple vote law used at the time helped immensely in magnifying their voting effectiveness. While voters voting for independents wasted their votes by distributing them among a large pool of candidates, the Islamists voted exclusively for the MB ticket.
Realizing the ability of the Islamists to abuse the system, the 1993 elections were conducted based on the one-vote law. While the Islamists were unhappy, they went along. In 1997, they boycotted the elections in protest over the one vote issue. In 2003, they ran and won 17 of the 115 contested seats.
The poll results anger the Islamists because, 18 years after winning 27.5% of seats in the parliament through abusing the voting system, they think that they are the only qualified representative of the Jordanian people, and they feel that any system that denies them their inalienable right to be the custodians of the Jordanian people is undemocratic.
In reality, people support the one vote law for precisely this reason. They don’t want the Islamists to gain power. But maybe if they talk about normalization some more, people will change their mind.