Given the nascent democratization efforts of the Hashemite Kingdom that have been underway since 1989, the case of Jordan epitomizes one of the most striking examples of the Arab world in demonstrating the case of controlled and/ or defensive liberalization. The demographic imbalance, ‘ethnic’ division, and processes of identity-building constitute the main local dynamics in circumscribing and mostly restricting democratization efforts of the Hashemite regime particularly in the post 1994 era. The peace process with Israel since 1994 pushed the regime to take pre-emptive measures in coping with the growing opposition in resisting normalization of relations with Israel. In this respect, at the first stage i.e. the years between 1989 and 1993 – the regime inaugurated the necessary laws to abolish political repression. However, at the second stage of political liberalization, the period after 1993, the Kingdom began to pursue a policy
Monarchical Pluralism or De-democratization: Actors and Choices in Jordan
This paper argues that the purpose of democratization in Jordanian politics is not only a political co-optation policy to cope with the negative effects of the country’s economic recession, but also to ensure the survival of the Hashemite monarchy. The process of democratization in the region has been closely tied with the notions of inclusiveness and exclusiveness. This is due to ‘incomplete’ national identity-building formation in most parts of the Middle East. For that particular purpose, the main objective of this paper is not to re-assert the uniqueness of politics in the Arab world, but rather to engage in how politics of regime survival in the case of Jordan shape the process of democratization in the post – 1989 era. Thus this paper will examine the period following the normalization of relations with Israel in 1994, the Palestinian question, the repercussions of current social upheavals in the Arab world, and how these specific circumstances affect Jordan’s democratic opening.
Public demonstrations were not directed against the very existence of the monarchy, but rather organized on the grounds of demands for more political freedom and problem of unemployment.
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