x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Election results favour Jordanian government

Pro-government candidates scored a sweeping victory in Jordan's parliamentary elections as Islamists, who make up the country's largest opposition group, boycotted the balloting.

AMMAN // Pro-government candidates scored a sweeping victory in Jordan's parliamentary elections as Islamists, who make up the country's largest opposition group, boycotted the balloting.

Among those elected to the 120-seat assembly were former premier Faisal al Fayez and eight former government officials, Interior Minister Nayef al Qadi said in Amman yesterday. Twelve seats were reserved for women and another female candidate was elected outside that quota.

Turnout in Tuesday's balloting was 53 per cent - or 1.27 million Jordanians - down from 58.9 per cent in 2007 parliamentary voting.

Mr al Qadi said the government was pleased by the turnout. "The voting percentage was satisfactory and they came contrary to our expectations," he said.

The Islamic Action Front (IAF) said the government's statistics on voter turnout were "contrary" to their findings and aimed at minimising their election boycott. The IAF, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, refused to participate in the voting.

Nisreen Zreiqat, an official at the National Centre for Human Rights, defended the conduct of elections, saying the government, which is appointed by the king, had been "transparent" and allowed foreign organisations to monitor voting.

The results of the voting point to a parliament that will follow the government's cues in its legislative agenda, said Mohammad Momani, a professor of political science at Yarmouk University in Irbid.

George Hawatmeh, a political analyst, said the outcome of the election raised questions about the role of Jordan's parliament in the country's political life.

"Can it play an instrumental role in shaping Jordan's political and economic processes in the years ahead, whether in terms of tackling the issues relevant to the country's financial crunch, or the Middle East peace process, which might require Jordan's intimate and direct involvement? Or will it continue to be strictly provincial in terms of handling local issues that have more to do with finding jobs and providing services for constituents?"

 

smaayeh@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting by Reuters and Agence France-Presse