Salameh Nematt jokingly refers to himself as a “normalizer” with Israel. A self-proclaimed secular Christian of east Jordanian (as opposed to Palestinian) descent, Nematt says he has visited Israel at least a dozen times since it signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994; most recently earlier this month for the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya.
Jordan is preparing for parliamentary elections to be held before the end of the year, but the jovial expression on King Abdullah’s face peeking out from street signs across Amman can barely mask the political turmoil stirring on the street below.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s best organized opposition group, has announced its intention to boycott the elections in protest against the “one man, one vote” election law, which the king refuses to annul. According to the current law, citizens are permitted to vote for only one candidate in their multi-candidate district, and another within a national list of 27 candidates.