Jordan Goes to the Polls with Noted Absence of MB
Approximately two and a half million Jordanian citizens are expected to go to the parliamentary polls today with the noted absence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Islamic Action Front.
Official sources reveal that 86 candidates will be vying for seats relying on tribal and family support to secure seats under the auspices of the political parties.
Few candidates referred to the Arab-Israeli conflict in their campaigns opting to concentrate on local economic and social issues.
The MB chose to boycott the elections objecting to the renewed polling process conducted on the basis of a new controversial one-person-one-vote law. They objected to the new law saying the government had failed to provide adequate assurances that the new elections would not be “rigged” as happened in the 2007 polls when they acquired only six seats, compared to the 17 won in earlier elections. In fact, the irregularities were witnessed in the 2007 polls by the state-funded National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR) who supported the Islamists’ viewpoint.
Despite efforts by Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who pledged to hold “fair and transparent” elections but failed, the IAF stuck to their decision. IAF secretary general, Hamza Mansour, told Arab News that they hoped their boycott of the polls would prompt the government to embark on real political reforms, including the adoption of a proportional representation election system.
Mansour stressed that they believe priority should be given to reforms.
Seven of the group’s members have chosen to run despite the decision to boycott, costing them their membership.
The election campaign was marred by reports of election fraud, including vote buying, which drew concern from human right groups and the press.