Jordanians voted Tuesday for a brand new parliament underneath revised guidelines that officers say are supposed to strengthen political events however are seen by some as a small step, at most, towards democratic reform.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the dominion’s most organized opposition group, competed for the primary time since 2007, however was not anticipated to win sufficient seats to problem management of parliament by institution candidates, together with tribal representatives.
The vote comes at a time of regional turmoil, together with home and exterior safety threats to professional-Western Jordan by Islamic State extremists who management giant areas in neighboring Syria and Iraq. In holding common elections, Jordan seeks to strengthen its picture as an island of stability within the area.
Nevertheless, parliament is weak, with most powers remaining within the palms of King Abdullah II. Polls have indicated widespread voter apathy, predicting greater than half of potential voters will not forged a poll, regardless of the participation of the Brotherhood.
Polls had been scheduled to shut at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT), however voting was prolonged by an hour in 15 of 23 districts, together with the cities of Amman, Irbid and Zarqa. Unbiased Election Commission spokesman Jihad Momani cited a late voter surge.
In precept, greater than four.1 million Jordanians older than 17 have been eligible to vote, however these presently overseas — about 1 million in response to Momani — can’t forged ballots. The potential voter pool was half that measurement in 2013, when voters needed to pre-register and turnout reached fifty six %.
By the point polls closed at eight p.m., almost 1.5 million Jordanians had voted. Outcomes weren’t anticipated earlier than Wednesday, Momani stated.
Voter Nour al-Ghwairi, forty four, stated she hoped the brand new parliament would deal with Jordan’s financial difficulties, reminiscent of rising joblessness, notably among the many younger. “The nation suffers from unemployment and different issues,” she stated after voting within the Jabal Hussein neighborhood of the capital, Amman.
Elsewhere in central Amman, seventy one-yr-previous Othman Abu Felah stated he did not hassle voting as a result of “it does not assist something.” Katrina Sammour, a political researcher, stated she would forged a clean poll in protest as a result of she believes parliament is weak and no social gathering or listing addresses her considerations.
Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki, appointed in Might after the king dissolved the outgoing parliament, stated that Jordan is proud to carry elections in a secure environment.
“We resort to poll bins and to the electoral course of to pick the trail for the longer term, and we do not resort to anything,” he stated, apparently referring to escalating conflicts within the area.
Tuesday’s election is being held beneath new guidelines that exchange the “one man, one vote” system. The previous technique, in place since 1993, had discouraged the formation of political events.
Critics stated the newest electoral reforms have fallen brief and are unlikely to result in significant change.
They stated they anticipate the brand new parliament to be just like the outgoing one — largely made up of people with competing, slender pursuits.
Beneath new voting guidelines, voters selected candidates from lists in 23 electoral districts. In all, 1,252 candidates ran on 226 lists.
Solely six % of the lists are affiliated with a selected political celebration, eleven % have some get together representatives, 39 % are unbiased and forty three % are based mostly on tribal affiliations, in line with the Worldwide Republican Institute, a U.S.-based mostly non-partisan group that seeks to advertise democracy.
“Whereas there may be some consolidation in comparison with earlier parliaments, you’re nonetheless going to see a parliament of people,” stated Ramsey Day, the IRI’s Jordan director. He stated that is “considerably inconsistent” with what has been cited as the last word objective of democratic reforms, a authorities shaped by parliament.
“Whereas this (election) may take a step ahead towards that, it is fairly a small step,” he stated.
Anja Wehler-Schoeck, Jordan director of Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Basis, stated that “we’re nonetheless very removed from” a strong parliamentary democracy.
Parliament is “a weak establishment within the political system in Jordan,” stated Wehler-Schoeck, who additionally cited a belief hole between residents and legislators. The inspiration is affiliated with Germany’s Social Democratic Celebration and seeks to advertise democracy worldwide.
Probably the most organized celebration is the Islamic Motion Entrance, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, a veteran opposition motion linked to the regional group of the identical identify.
In Jordan, ideological arguments cut up the group into rival factions, with one of many breakaways acknowledged by the federal government because the official Brotherhood.
The IAF stated the group expects to win no less than one-fourth of the seats and function a vocal opposition, whereas analysts anticipated they might win about 20 seats. The group boycotted elections in 2010 and 2013, saying electoral legal guidelines have been unfair.
Zaki Bani Ersheid, a senior Brotherhood official, stated Tuesday that he believes a robust displaying for the motion would improve “confidence within the legislative establishment, and confidence between the individuals and the federal government.”
The IAF could not afford boycotting this election, regardless of continued misgivings about procedures, stated analyst Ayoub al-Nmour from the election monitoring group Al-Hayat.
“Boycotting for therefore lengthy brought on them to lose a whole lot of their weight” in Jordanian politics, he stated.
Related Press writers Omar Akour, Sam McNeil and Khetam Malkawi in Amman contributed to this report..
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