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.

 

Iran forces inside Iraq as Abadi rules out foreign ground intervention!

Qaeda inflicts heavy losses on Huthi rebels in central Yemen

Kerry seeks help of Southeast Asia in anti-Islamic State push

Turkey gives Iraq Peshmerga forces passage to Kobane

Cultural heartland of Al Ain hosts night of Emirati musical heritage

South Sudan rivals meet in new bid to end civil war

From Morocco into Spain: Crowd of African migrants charges to border fence

Deadly suicide attack targets Shiite mosque in central Baghdad

Israel to supply Egypt with natural gas despite sabotage

US carries out first weapon airdrops to Kurd fighters near Kobane

Benghazi violence kills 75 people in five days

Morocco accuses Algeria of firing on civilians across border

Australia finalises deal for deployment of Special Forces to Iraq

Tunisia calls on Libya authorities to locate missing journalists

Turkey rejects calls to arm ‘terrorist’ Kurdish party in Syria

Western powers threaten sanctions against hostile actors in Libya

New deadly terrorist attack targets Egypt army in Sinai

‘Islamic State’ suffers heavy losses in Syria battleground of Kobane

After full formation of Iraq government, time comes to visit Iran

UN appeals for four-day truce in Western Libya

Gaza tunnel collapses before demolition: At least 3 Egypt soldiers dead

Erdogan begins one-day visit to Afghanistan

After weeks of delay, Iraq gets new security ministers

Diplomats scold Turkey over ambiguous relation with Islamic State

Lebanon pleads for Iran military aid to fight Islamic State

Kurds repulse new jihadist attempt to cut off Syria town

Huthi rebels meet fierce resistance in Yemen Sunni areas

Former Iraqi pilots train IS to fly Syria fighter jets

Two Millstones Drowning America into Premature Oblivion

Iraqi forces launch anti-IS operation north of Tikrit

Ben Ali cohorts planning comeback in Tunisia polls

Battle for Libya's Benghazi heats up

Kurdish fighters still holding out in Syria's Kobane

Russia denies agreed with US on IS intelligence-sharing

Saudi’s National Commercial Bank to offer $3.6 billion IPO

Qaeda counters advancing rebels with Yemen town seizure

Iran warns Saudi cleric death sentence could escalate tensions

No breakthrough in US-Iran intense nuclear talks

Kuwait ends decades of diesel, kerosene subsidies

US airstrikes ‘push back’ IS in Kobane

New desperate attempt to reach Europe: Hundreds storm Morocco-Spain border

Turkey Kurdish party plans talks with armed PKK rebels in Iraq

Iraq beats back ‘Islamic State’ assault on Ramadi

Saudi court sentences Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr to death

Iran nuclear talks: Search for elusive breakthrough begins