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Jordan: Ten More Years of Autocracy

From: Journal of Democracy
Volume 20, Number 4, October 2009
pp. 151-166 | 10.1353/jod.0.0125



Since his ascension in 1999, King Abdullah II has halted Jordan's decade-long experiment with political liberalization. However, the new royal incumbent has preserved authoritarian power not through highly visible tools of domination, such as widespread coercion and institutional closure, but rather softer instruments of legal manipulation. Through selective economic reforms, new civil society regulations, and hollow pluralism initiatives, Abdullah's regime has tightened its control over political opposition while foreclosing the possibility of mass unrest. As a result, ten years after the Hashemite monarchy received its new king, the prospects for democratic change in Jordan remain exceedingly low.