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Jordanian opposition pushes for political reform

Ahead of a major opposition rally on Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah has dissolved parliament, paving the way for early elections. The monarch has said he wants the polls to be held before the end of the year.

Jordan's main Islamist government opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, plans to hold a rally on Friday in a bid to put pressure on the monarch to accelerate what it says is a "slow pace of political reform."

Organizers of the event said they are hoping 50,000 supporters will show out for the protest.

In a move to avoid confrontation, another rally, organised by pro-government groups, has been postponed.

Calls for political reform

Jordan's King Abdullah dissolved the country's parliament on Thursday, paving the way for elections which he said he wants to go ahead early next year.

"The king has decided to dissolve the chamber of deputies from this Thursday and to call early elections," a statement from his office said.

State media reported the royal decree dissolving parliament failed to mention a date for an election that would decide the composition of the 120-member lower house of parliament.

Numerous marches have taken place in Jordan since January 2011 with Jordanians calling for political and economic reforms, as well as an end to government corruption.

The Brotherhood has threatened to boycott the polls, as it did in 2010, to demonstrate against the lack of solid political reforms, including the adoption of a legislative system where the prime minister is elected, rather than named and dismissed by the monarch.

Jordan's constitution states elections are to be held every four years, but the country held early polls in 2010 after the king again suspended parliament.

jlw/jm (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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