Jordan's monarchs know how to hold onto office, and for now Abdullah seems safe. But things are happening fast in the Arab world.
“The king has decided to dissolve the chamber of deputies from this Thursday and to call early elections,” a statement said. It gave no date, but the monarch has said he wants polls to be held by the end of 2012.
The opposition Muslim Brotherhood said earlier that it was going ahead with its planned rally in central Amman on Friday by an estimated 50,000 supporters.
Numerous demonstrations have taken place in Jordan since January 2011 to call for political and economic reforms and demand an end to corruption. In response, King Abdullah said early elections would be held.
But the Brotherhood says it would boycott the polls as they did in 2010 to protest against the lack of solid reforms, while calling for a parliamentary system where the prime minister is elected, rather than named by the king.
A demonstration in support of the king was called off over fears of unrest as it would have coincided with the Islamist rally, organizers said.
In an exclusive interview with AFP last month, the king said a decision by the Islamists to boycott the vote was “a tremendous miscalculation.”
“As constitutional monarch, my mandate is to be the umbrella for all political groupings and all segments of our society, and as part of that responsibility, I am telling the Muslim Brotherhood that they are making a tremendous miscalculation,” he said.
“The countdown to the elections has already started. Registration is under way. We have already crossed the one-million person mark. Parliament will be dissolved. The elections date will be announced. And we will have a new parliament by the new year.”
“This elections law is not perfect. We all understand that. But there is no better consensus on an alternative. What is critical is that we keep going forward, and -- mark my words -- we will have a new parliament by the new year,” the king said.
In other Jordan news, the Obeidat tribe went crazy over the announcement that one of their members would be the new ambassador to Israel:
Members of the Jordanian Obeidat tribe this week condemned the appointment of Walid Obeidat as Jordan's new envoy to Israel, considering the move 'shameful' and blasted Obeidat's acceptance of the position a grave offense to his tribe.Later, the tribe offered incentives for Khalid to reject the position.
Following a meeting of a number of Obeidat tribe members in northern Jordan Saturday evening, a statement was issued renouncing Khalid Obeidat from the tribe, stating that "whoever accepts this position, and puts his hand in the hands of those who seized the land, killed and displaced Palestinians... has crossed all prohibitions and red lines."
The statement, a copy of which was sent to Ammon News, considered the acceptance of the post as a grave insult to the nation and the tribe, stressing that this 'shameful' stance contradicts the history and stance of the tribe and its successive generations towards the Palestinian cause.
The announcement came after the government appointed Obeidat last Thursday as ambassador of Jordan in Tel Aviv.
Members of the tribe stressed that the Obeidats will continue to be loyal to its nation and will not make truce with its enemies until the liberation of Palestine, noting that the tribe was among the first to recognize the dangers of the Zionist settlement scheme in the 1920's.
The statement also blasted the Jordanian-Israeli Wadi-Araba peace treaty as 'shameful' and denounced by the tribe and the nation, and condemned the presence of a 'Zionist' embassy in Amman, and the reciprocation of a Jordanian Embassy to the 'Zionist entity.'