Since King Abdullah II’s accession to the throne in 1999, expectations for political reform and related debates in Jordan have intensified. In this period, five prime ministers have formed governments. In his letter of designation to successive prime ministers the king has demanded political reform. Despite the king's demands, there has been little progress.
Since its economic crisis in the late 1980s, Jordan has pursued an economic reform program with several inter-related objectives: controlling inflation, cutting the government's budget deficit, fostering exports, supporting private sector development, and rebuilding foreign reserves.
Foreign democracy assistance organizations working directly with political parties have come into the line of fire as some Arab governments have pushed back against democratization initiatives over the past two years. In Algeria, Bahrain, and Egypt in particular, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) have been among the first to feel pressure.
Recent labor protests and bread lines in Egypt present a stark contrast to the Egyptian government’s narrative of impressive economic growth, which international financial institutions have validated. Jordan has not experienced serious protests recently, but it is also witnessing growing complaints about inflation despite notable economic growth.
Debates surrounding the April election of Hammam Sa’id as General Guide of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood reflected the deep internal conflict within the organization. For the past sixty years, the movement has managed to maintain internal unity. Recently, however, internal schisms—traditionally underplayed and kept secret—have become much more salient and public.