The Consultative Council of Jordan’s influential Muslim Brotherhood movement has elected hard-line Hammam Saeed as new leader, reliable Islamic sources said Thursday. Saeed, a former member of the lower house of parliament, narrowly won the post in severe competition with former leader, Salem Falahat, who lost with one-vote edge in the voting that took place late Wednesday. The new leader, who descends from a Palestinian origin, apparently won the support of hawks who back the Palestinian hard-line Hamas group currently in control of the Gaza Strip. Falahat, a dovish Islamist, came under fire from hard-liners since he was chosen several months ago by King Abdullah II as member of the upper house of parliament, also known as the king’s council.
An earlier post had already noted that elections for the Consultative Council (Shura Council) had already been won by hardline forces in March. Other posts discussed the pressure faced by the Jordanian Brotherhood, operating under the name Islamic Action Front (IAF) following major losses in general elections last November. The reported cited above indicated that the defeat was blamed mainly on the leadership’s choice of moderate candidates to run the elections and that Saeed’s choice as new leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement could result in confrontation with the Jordanian government, which supports Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas versus Hamas.