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Jordanians send message to opposition: Let's take it slow

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"A majority want those political parties to be part of the reform process through constitutional ways," says Walid Alkhatib, the head of the center's polling unit. The poll was taken before the gas riots, so the results were not affected by any backlash against the recent violence, but rather point to a deep-rooted desire for stability and incremental change, even among many Jordanians who are dissatisfied with the reforms so far.

That conservatism is something protesters will be trying to take into account, as they to try to win people to their side before the next crisis comes.

The next stand-off

The date for the next crisis is already set: Jan. 23, the date of the next parliamentary elections.

Dissatisfaction with the legislature has been a major opposition complaint for years. In 2011, the government responded by passing a new elections law, meant to change a voting system that makes it very difficult for political parties to get candidates into parliament, and leaves many of Jordan's urban areas radically under-represented.

The king also revised the country's constitution, saying that the changes would pave the way for a cabinet of ministers formed by Parliament rather than appointed by the crown. But opposition leaders and analysts say those changes are cosmetic. Several opposition parties, including Jordan's powerful Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, have already announced a boycott of the new elections.

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