Jordan demonstrators reject new electoral law

AFP, Friday 13 Apr 2012

Almost 1,500 opposition Islamists demonstrate to express their rejection to a proposed electoral law awaiting parliamentary approval and says it 'rigs people's will'

Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to demand for political reform after Friday prayers in Amman 24 February 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Around 1,500 people, mostly opposition Islamists, demonstrated in the centre of Jordan's capital on Friday to reject a proposed electoral law, saying it "rigs people's will."

"The people reject martial laws. We demand a modern and democratic elections law," read a banner carried by demonstrators, including trade unionists and political party members, as they marched from Al-Husseni mosque to nearby city hall.

The new law, announced by the government, is currently awaiting parliamentary approval.

Although it scraps a contested one-person-one-vote system, the powerful Islamists have slammed it for limiting seats allocated to political parties.

"The draft law deforms political life and rigs people's will in Jordan. We tell the regime today that this law is completely rejected," Muslim Brotherhood leader Hammam Said told the protesters.

"How can we have such a law in a time of Arab Spring? People here keep waiting for reforms but all what they get is corruption and more corruption."

The draft law increases the number of seats in parliament to 138 from 120 and expands a quota system for women from 12 to 15.

But each of the country's 23 political parties can only field five candidates to compete for the 15 seats allocated for a proportional list.

The Islamists and other groups have been protesting since last year to call for sweeping reforms in the kingdom, including a new electoral law to ensure fair representation.

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