Jordan’s municipal elections were hailed by many as a positive step towards political reform but their aftermath was tarnished by deadly celebratory gunfire. While some cheered the outcome of the elections, others mourned the death of two children killed by stray bullets from celebratory gunfire. The elections were marred by road blocks, riots and rallies in the streets of various governorates by supporters of losing candidates. Making matters worse, the Independent Election Commission’s (IEC) website crashed due to heavy traffic, with some attributing the breakdown to hackers’ attempts to manipulate the results. Mayors, municipal council members and governorate councils were elected for the first time under the Decentralisation Law, which gives a voice to the elected council in determining the governorate’s development priorities.
Articles about voting issues in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Thursday announced the preliminary results of five districts, two of which had three women winning outside the quota. Meanwhile, the IEC announced that no re-vote would be held in the Central Badia District, where sabotage of ballots was reported. At a press conference, Mustafa Barari, head of the commission’s special committee entrusted with auditing the elections’ results, announced the initial outcomes of Karak, Balqa and Irbid’s 1st and 4th districts as well as the Central Badia. In Karak, the number of voters stood at 103,451 with 10 seats allocated for the southern constituency, including those designated for women and Christians. Out of eleven competing lists, six have made it to the 18th House.
Widespread rioting broke out in Jordan on Tuesday night after preliminary results of the country’s parliamentary election were reported, amid complaints of vote-rigging. Residents of the restive southern city of Maan blocked roads, burned tyres and threw bricks until disturbances were eventually quelled by Jordanian security forces, according to the local news website Roya. Residents told Roya that they heard intense gunfire after nightfall and that electricity was cut off in various areas of the city. There was another reported incident of rioting just north-west of the capital, Amman, after supporters of a parliamentary candidate, who has not been named, read news reports which suggested that he had not won a seat.
Jordan’s moderate Islamist opposition could emerge from Tuesday’s parliamentary election with renewed influence after surviving government attempts to ban it as part of a wider crackdown on political Islam, analysts said. The group could win up to a fifth of seats in the parliament after ditching its “Islam is the Solution” slogan and joining with Christians and prominent national figures to create a broad-based civic grouping, The National Coalition for Reform, they added. Officials said turnout was 36 percent of 4.1 million eligible voters at the end of polling, lower than the election in January 2013.
Throughout Jordan, street signs have been replaced by beaming campaign posters and car parks filled with rows of seats for rallies. Campaigning reached its peak on Sunday night before lapsing into an enforced silence in preparation for Tuesday’s polls, which will be different from other elections in the kingdom’s recent past. Jordan made significant changes to its electoral law this year, replacing a controversial one-person-one-vote system with a list-based system designed to encourage political parties. As a result, key opposition groups that previously boycotted the election, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are back.
Candidates on Saturday demanded a partial recount in recent Jordanian parliamentary elections, even as protests regarding the contested results rumbled on, DPA reported Hundreds of supporters of defeated candidates rallied in Amman and Mafraq, marking the third straight day of protests over the results of the January 23 polls. Some 56.7 per cent of Jordan’s 3 million eligible voters cast ballots in Wednesday’s polls, which were declared by international observers to be free and fair, with few irregularities. However several candidates cried foul after a late surge in voting tipped the balance in several heated contests and after final election results on Thursday sealed some candidates’ victories with margins in the single digits.
Jordanians are voting in parliamentary elections boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood, which says the electoral system is rigged in favour of rural tribal areas and against the urban poor. The Brotherhood and the National Reform Front of former prime minister and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat are staying away from the polls, which opened for 12 hours from 04:00 GMT on Wednesday. An estimated 2.3 million Jordanians are eligible to vote at 1,484 polling stations, choosing from 1,425 candidates, vying for a four-year term in the 150-seat lower house of parliament. “So far, 125,000 have cast their votes,” reported Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh from Amman.
Jordanians voted on Wednesday in their first parliamentary elections since the Arab Spring revolts, but a boycott by the main Islamist party will ensure no repeat of an Egypt-style revolution via the ballot box. The popular Muslim Brotherhood shunned the poll saying the electoral system had been rigged against large, populated urban areas where it is strongest in favor of rural tribal areas where conservative, pro-government forces are entrenched. Dozens of people lined up outside polling stations in several Jordanian towns before polls opened across the kingdom at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT), witnesses said.
From a podium at an Amman street rally, the leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood vowed that soon the country would become a “state in the Muslim Caliphate,” bringing cheers of “God is great” from the crowd of bearded, Islamist supporters. It was extreme rhetoric, suggesting that the monarchy that defines this U.S. ally in the Mideast will disappear to be replaced by an Islamic state. The Brotherhood, the top opposition group in Jordan, usually avoids such bold strokes and insists on its loyalty to the king. But the speech last week by Hammam Saeed points to how the heat is turning up in the country’s simmering political confrontations as Jordan holds parliamentary elections Wednesday that the government touts as a milestone in a gradual process of bringing greater democracy.
The candidates running in Jordan’s upcoming parliamentary elections have slogans and campaign promises that would sound familiar to voters in the historic recent polls of other Arab countries. But a quick glance at the Jordanian ballot reveals a list of hopefuls who stand apart from many of the competitors in other post-Arab Spring elections: Of the 1,400 candidates running on Wednesday for this monarchy’s 150-seat Parliament, only 22 are Islamists. After major gains in elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, Islamists are set to make little electoral impact in the first Jordanian polls since a pro-democracy movement broke out here in 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood — which is Jordan’s strongest opposition force and runs its most organized political party — is boycotting the vote, mainly in protest of an elections law it claims will prevent a fair vote.