Jordanian Islamists to Quit Municipal Council Posts
Members of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) serving as mayors and members of several Jordanian municipal councils will resign Thursday to protest against the government's decision to merge several municipalities, according to a senior party member.
IAF Deputy Secretary General Hamzeh Mansour told the Jordan Times that serving IAF mayors and council members would hold a press conference on Thursday to announce their resignations.
"The government's decision to merge municipalities is a confiscation of the rights of people," said Mansour, whose party is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The IAF fears that the government's merger plan aims at clipping its popular and political weight.
"The government does not want to listen to any one except itself," Mansour pointed out.
Minister of Municipal, Rural and Environmental Affairs Abdul Razzak Tbeishat denied that the government's plan to merge bankrupt municipalities was aimed at targeting Islamists or any other party.
"This is a national project," he said. "However, it remains the Islamists' choice to resign or not," he added.
According to the paper, the decision is expected to further strain ties between the government and the IAF and other opposition parties, because of the state's recent handling of the Hamas file and accusations of a crackdown on public freedoms.
The IAF's announcement came a day after the government announced it would continue merging municipalities. Officials said the Council of Ministers decided to merge the 80 municipalities of the northern Governorate of Irbid into 18 as of Thursday; while the 12 in Madaba and the 9 in Tafileh would be brought down to four in each governorate as of Sunday.
For years, the IAF has maintained a stronghold in the municipalities of Irbid, Tafileh, Zarqa and Ruseifa.
They also have a sizeable presence in the municipalities of Karak, Madaba and Sahab.
The municipal sector is saddled with huge debts in addition to uncollected fees – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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