Campaigning for Jordan’s parliamentary elections kicked off this week with tribesmen, former army generals and businesspersons rushing to join the race. Early surveys predict less than a 50 percent voter turn-out due to growing anger against government policies and the absence of major opposition parties, including the Islamist movement, on the list of candidates. The national election committee on Tuesday announced final figures of registered candidates for the January 23 polls. It included 820 men and women and 60 joint tickets competing for the 150 seats.
Observers said candidates are doing whatever they could to attract voters. One of the joint tickets was named after former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is very popular in many parts of the kingdom and whose name is associated in Jordan with strict justice and an unwavering stance against corruption and injustice.
Despite the colorful images, candidates were seen as dull and repetitive in their appeals to voters. “It is a contest of rhetoric rather than content,” analyst Jehad al Mansi told The Media Line.
Placards and slogans randomly stuck on walls of public and private buildings, major roundabouts and crossroads, lampposts and traffic lights, plainly echoed issues raised during the 2010 elections, a year before the Arab Spring that toppled several authoritarian regimes over corruption, poverty and lack of personal freedom.