First Published: 2013-01-24


Jordanians pick new parliament amid row over voter turnout


IEC gives final turnout figure of 56.6 percent of registered electorate but Brotherhood says turnout is way below that figure due to fraud.


Middle East Online

By Musa Hattar AMMAN

Final results not announced yet

Tribal leaders, pro-regime loyalists and independent businessmen looked set to sweep Jordan's parliamentary election that was shunned by Islamists, according to initial results released on Thursday.

The Independent Election Commission was to hold a news conference later in the day but said it was unclear if final results would be announced.

Wednesday's election, considered by King Abdullah II as a focal point of his reforms process, was boycotted by Islamists led by the Muslim Brotherhood, who said the monarch's measures fell short of true democratic change.

The IEC gave a final turnout figure of 56.6 percent of the registered electorate of 2.3 million but the Brotherhood said turnout was way below that figure due to fraud and vote-buying.

Initial results released by the IEC showed that tribal leaders, an assortment of pro-regime figures and independent businessmen were heading the field.

The figures also showed that independent candidate Maryam Luzi, an educationist, had won a seat outside of the quota system which reserves 15 seats for women in Jordan.

Another winner, according to the IEC, was Khalil Atieh, a long-time regime ally who enjoys good reputation. Standing in the capital Amman, he bagged the highest number of votes -- 19,280 -- in his constituency.

At least three candidates, who have been accused by the authorities of vote-buying, appeared to have won. Their cases are still before the courts and if found guilty, they face several years in jail.

The Muslim Brotherhood slammed the election.

"The turnout does not make any sense. They could have done a better job to make people believe," Zaki Bani Rshied, deputy leader of the Brotherhood said.

"We have closely monitored the electoral process. Vote buying and fake voter cards were very clear. We will prove that our boycott was the right decision."

The election commission insisted its figures were "accurate."

"The voting was slow in the morning, but in the afternoon, the turnout increased. Our figures are accurate and realistic," head of the commission Abul Ila Khatib said.

"We have nothing to hide. The election is being observed by Jordanians themselves and international monitors. We are not worried about the figures. We care about the integrity of the election."

King Abdullah II wants the election to pave the way for a parliamentary system of government.

He has said he plans for the first time to consult MPs before naming a premier, insisting that strong political parties are needed to support such system of government.

But the Islamists and the National Reform Front of former premier and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat, which also boycotted the poll, argue there is no real will to reform and insist that the king should not name prime ministers.

A total of 1,425 candidates, including around 140 former MPs and 191 women, contested the 150 seats in parliament's lower house.


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting