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Jordan's king dissolves parliament, calls early elections

Jordan's King Abdullah II has dissolved the country's parliament, calling for elections to be held before the end of the year. The royal palace made the announcement on the eve of a major opposition rally.

"The king has decided to dissolve the chamber of deputies from this Thursday and to call early elections," a statement from the royal palace said. It gave no suggested dates, but the reigning monarch said he wants the polls to be held by the end of 2012.

In spite of the announcement, the Muslim Brotherhood anticipates that approximately 50,000 supporters will attend the rally in Amman on Friday and there has been no word suggesting its cancellation.

A series of demonstrations have taken place in Jordan since January 2011, with calls for political and economic reforms and demands that corruption be tackled. In particular, new electoral voter laws have frustrated many Jordanians.

The Islamists and other opposing parties said the new law, passed in July 2012, still give too much representation to pro-government rural electoral divisions and not enough to opposition rural areas, where Palestinians are the majority.

In an exclusive interview with AFP last month, King Abdullah II acknowledged the problems with voter laws and expressed his strong intent to foment political change.

cg/rc (AFP, AP)