Long praised for its stability, Jordan has been troubled by protests, detentions, and international criticism. To protect its rulers’ legitimacy and ease citizens’ frustrations, Amman should consider substantive political reforms.
Since the 2016 introduction of a proportional open-list voting system to Jordan’s parliamentary elections, the Jordanian government has faced ongoing demands for reform. But the system is unconducive to democratic reform, given Jordan’s broader socio-political environment.
By pushing economic liberalization in the Middle East without requiring transparency and fighting corruption, international donors have allowed the region’s elites to hog power and resources. The result is a combustible mix of anger and disillusionment.
Michele Dunne is the director and a senior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where her research focuses on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Senior Fellow Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center
Yezid Sayigh is a senior fellow at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, where he leads the program on Civil-Military Relations in Arab States (CMRAS). His work focuses on the comparative political and economic roles of Arab armed forces and nonstate actors, the impact of war on states and societies, and the politics of postconflict reconstruction and security sector transformation in Arab transitions, and authoritarian resurgence.