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    Jordan king’s critics gain in elections

    AMMAN, Jordan — Thirty-seven Islamist and other government critics were victorious in parliamentary elections that were boycotted, injecting a degree of dissent into Jordan’s newly empowered Parliament. The king has portrayed the assembly as a centerpiece of his reform package, but the opposition says it’s not enough and vowed Thursday to stage more street protests.

    Initial results released Thursday showed the Islamists — who are not linked to the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood — and other opposition figures winning more than 25 percent of the 150-seat Parliament, in sharp contrast to the outgoing legislature, which was almost entirely composed of the king’s supporters.

    Loyalists of King Abdullah II, however, will remain in control of the new legislature, claiming a majority of the seats up for grabs in Wednesday’s parliamentary election — touted as the start of a democratization process that will see the monarch, a close US ally, gradually hand over some of his absolute powers to lawmakers.

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    The new Parliament will choose the prime minister and be responsible for running much of the country’s day to-day affairs.

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    Foreign policy and security matters remain in the hands of Abdullah.

    Associated Press