Jordan’s registration results at the Independent Elections Commission show that 61 parties and lists featuring 824 candidates (among them only 88 women) will be competing for 27 national seats of the 150-seat expanded 17th Parliament, while 698 candidates (among them 196 women) will compete for the remaining 123 local seats. While it will take years to reach the ideal of three major parties, the closed lists introduced a system whereby politicians (and tribal leaders) should have been able to create alliances and coalitions to win nationwide seats. The system, however, needs major corrective steps (as well as time) if a fiasco is to be avoided.
With a country that has not known nationwide elections, lacks a tradition of political parties (with the exception of the Islamists) and has no public opinion polling, everyone decided to take a chance at winning what appears to be coveted nationwide seats.
Opening up registration for registered political parties as well as last-minute created lists is obviously a mistake for a country wishing to introduce a culture of political parties. Already many were complaining about the large number of existing political parties, which exceeded 30, many totally incapable of acquiring a unique and attractive political character or even organizing a proper membership drive.
Political activists aware of the absence of polling or other mechanisms for a primary style pre-election process suggested that the nominated lists be open to the voters. Instead of the wrangling and various unscrupulous deals for rankings on a list, proponents of this idea would have had the voters choose from the entire list rather than be forced to vote for one out of the 61 lists that will be running for the nationwide seats.
Full Article: Jordan’s electoral system needs reform.