Islamists hoping for comeback in Jordan
JORDANIANS vote in parliamentary elections tomorrow that could see opposition Islamists re-emerge as a major parliamentary force in the kingdom, a key Western ally in the fight against jihadists.
The vote comes as Jordan wrestles with stubbornly high unemployment, fears of a spillover from wars in Syria and Iraq, and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, is expected to win around 20 seats in the 130-seat parliament, making it the biggest opposition force.
The IAF boycotted elections in 2010 and 2013 in protest at the electoral system and allegations of fraud.
Jordan’s electoral system gives disproportionate clout to rural districts, which are less populated than the cities but tend to return tribal candidates loyal to the monarchy.
The IAF, however, will also face competition from Islamists seen as aligned with the palace.
These include the breakaway Muslim Brotherhood Association, which the government authorised last year to compete in polls.
Despite the challenges facing Jordan, the election has failed to inspire the public.
The Phenix Centre, a local pollster, reported that 42 percent of Jordanians planned not to vote while 19pc were undecided. –
Islamist candidate Mustafa al-Assaf speaks during a campaign for the National Alliance for Reform in Amman’s Sweileh district late on September 16.