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Jordanian Islamist party picks moderate over hawk for new leader

Other News Materials 26 June 2010 16:09
The consultative council of Jordan's main opposition party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), on Saturday elected Hamzeh Mansour, a moderate, as the party's new leader, sources said
Jordanian Islamist party picks moderate over hawk for new leader

The consultative council of Jordan's main opposition party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), on Saturday elected Hamzeh Mansour, a moderate, as the party's new leader, sources said, dpa reported.

Mansour snagged 62 votes, while 55 members supported his opponent, hawkish candidate Mohammad Zoyoud. This is the second time that Mansour will serve as the party's secretary general.

His election is expected to put an end to two months of bickering within the country's Islamic movement, which threatened to break up its influential mother organisation, the Muslim Brotherhood.

The dispute dated back to April, when the Brotherhood's consultative council recommended that the IAF's leadership be handed to Zaki Bani Rsheid, a hard-liner whose policies had put the Islamic movement at loggerheads with the government when he first held the post two years ago.

The Islamist party apparently decided to elect a new leader in order to avoid further cracks in its unity ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for November 9.

King Abdullah II dissolved the lower house of parliament last November - two years before the completion of its four-year term - amid accusations by Islamist and other opposition parties that the 2007 polls had been "rigged" by the executive.

The state-funded National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) conceded that the polling process had featured "irregularities." The IAF won only six seats in the 2007 elections, compared to the 17 seats it had previously held in the 110-member chamber.

The November elections are scheduled to take place in accordance with a new law that provides for, among other things, punishing candidates involved in illegal practices such as buying votes.

The government said that it would allow the NCHR and - for the first time - foreign monitors to supervise the polling process.

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