Loyalists top Jordan polls

Independents close to the royal family won most seats in Jordan's parliamentary elections, according to final results announed on Wednesday.

    Tuesday's elections were the third
    multi-party polls since riots in 1989

    The representatives of major tribes and families, traditionally loyal to the Hashemite rulers, carried a majority of parliament's 110 seats and more than half the country's 45 constituencies, said the interior ministry.

    No woman was elected in Tuesday's vote and a special commission was charged with choosing six women to fill the quota of seats reserved for them.

    The main opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, won 16 of the 30 seats which it had contested.

    The IAF scored best in Amman where it won six seats.

    In other governorates notably Irbid in the north, considered to be Jordan's second city, two of the six Islamist candidates won seats.

    Former parliamentarian Abd al-Monein Abu Zant, who had been sacked from the IAF for running on an independent ticket, secured more votes in Amman than any of his rivals.

    Islamists secured 15% of the total seats in the lower house, which was elected for a four-year term.

    Election results indicated that most elected MPs are newcomers. 

     

    Interior Minister, Koftan Majali, is due to announce the formal results at a press conference later on Wednesday.

    Accusations

    The polls had been postponed
    for 15 months

    The IAF has charged that the elections were rigged. IAF Secretary General, Hamza Mansur, in a letter to Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb on Tuesday, said that “hundreds of voting cards were forged” in the Karak governorate, about 120 km south of Amman.

    The head of Jordan’s civil status and passport department, Awni Yervas, admitted to the official Petra news agency that there was a “limited number of attempts to tamper with voting cards”.

    The interior minister also told Petra that “some voters were detained for questioning after they tried to forge” their electorate cards.

    The IAF had boycotted the last election in 1997.

    Turnout

    Voter turnout was just under 59 percent compared to 55 percent in 1997.

    The lowest turnout was in Amman governorate with 38.16 percent, while the highest was in Karak at 79.75 percent.

    King Abd Allah, presiding over the first election since he succeeded his late father King Hussein in 1999, described it a “historic day”.

    He had appealed for the country’s 2.3 million eligible voters to cast their ballots, saying the polls were a milestone on the road towards modernising the kingdom.

    Polling had been postponed for 15 months.

    He welcomed the participation of the IAF, saying the political wing of the influential group “is part of the social and political fabric of Jordan”.


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