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Jordan bans Muslim Brotherhood election

For the first time in 70 years, Jordan bans Brotherhood from holding elections of group's advisory council
Jordanians wave Muslim Brotherhood flags in Amman in 2007 (AFP)

Jordanian authorities have banned the Muslim Brotherhood from holding its own internal elections - which have been held for the past 70 years - saying the group does not have the correct license.

The governor of Amman reportedly informed the group on Tuesday that the government would not allow the election of the group's advisory council and a successor to leader Hammam Saeed to move forward. Sources within the organisation, however, told Al Jazeera Arabic that they plan to proceed.

The decision to ban the election is the latest development in the strained relationship between the Jordanian government and the Muslim Brotherhood, once Jordan's most organised and strongest opposition parties.

Tensions flared last year when leaders of the group accused the government of plotting to weaken its power by forcing a split within the organisation.

While a 1946 cabinet decision licensed Jordan's Brotherhood as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers, the government told the group last July to correct its legal status and the group divided into two.

Around 50 MB members set up a "charitable society" in the wake of the government warnings which was quickly approved by authorities and declared as the "official" group. It has grown to about 300 members in the past year.

Meanwhile, the original MB organisation, still has the support of the majority of the group's followers. 

Jordan's Interior Ministry has not explained the reasons for the decision against the internal elections but, in a statement, the MB said the ban was part of a continuous policy to restrict and tighten its activities and said it will not prevent the elections, previously held every four years, from happening.  

Nabil Kofahi, a former Jordanian Brotherhood leader, told MEE on Tuesday that while the original group sounds defiant, members are unlikely to take to the streets.

Instead, he said he anticipated that there would be an unofficial deal struck between the government and the group, allowing the organisation to hold its elections if it participates in the country's upcoming parliamentary elections.

In recent weeks, the group has said it is undecided over whether it will participate in the elections, based largely on whether the government will "ensure fair and transparent polls," according to an MB statement quoted by the Jordan Times.

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