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Saturday, 16 January 2021

Jordanians begin voting in parliamentary elections

Across the country, banners of around 1,700 candidates fluttered from signposts appealing to 4.64 million eligible voters on mostly tribal and family loyalty

Reuters , Tuesday 10 Nov 2020
Jordan
A voter, mask-clad due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, shows her identification document to security as others behind queue outside a polling station to vote at al-Baqaa camp for Palestinian refugees north of Jordan's capital on November 10, 2020, during the 2020 general election AFP
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Jordanians began voting on Tuesday in elections set to keep parliament in the hands of tribal and pro-government deputies under a system that under-represents the cities where the Islamist and liberal opposition do best.

A handful of people lined up outside polling stations in several Jordanian towns before polls opened across the kingdom at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT), witnesses said.

Across the country, banners of around 1,700 candidates fluttered from signposts appealing to 4.64 million eligible voters on mostly tribal and family loyalty.

The elections coincide with public discontent as Jordan grapples with its worst economic crisis in many years, with unemployment and poverty aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politicians appealed to Jordanians to turn out and vote amid widespread apathy and calls for a boycott.

"Our society is tribal but we have to encourage people to vote. I appeal to them to head to ballot boxes to make change," Faisal al Fayez, a prominent politician and former premier and royal court chief, told state owned al-Mamlaka television.

Defying liberals and Islamists alike, the government has maintained an election law that under-represents large cities that are Islamist and Palestinian strongholds in favour of sparsely-populated tribal areas which form a bedrock of support for the kingdom's Hashemite monarchy.

Tribalism has been on the rise as a political element in Jordan, blunting the emergence of national parties and curbing the influence of Islamists.

Jordan faces the challenge of forging ahead with IMF-guided structural reforms to help recover from the pandemic's impact on its aid-dependent economy.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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