Jordan polls tipped to see return of Islamists
JORDANIANS voted yesterday in an election that could see opposition Islamists re-emerge as a major parliamentary force in the key Western ally.
The focus will be on turnout and performance of the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Experts expect the party to clinch around 20 seats in the 130seat house, which would make it the largest opposition.
The vote comes as Jordan wrestles with the spillover of wars in Syria and Iraq, and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The kingdom is a member of the US-led coalition battling jihadists in both neighbouring countries and was the target of a June 21 suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State group that killed seven border guards.
The interior ministry said 50,000 policemen have been mobilised to ensure security at polling stations.
The Phenix Centre, a local pollster, has said 42 percent of eligible voters planned not to take part in the election, reflecting a general lack of enthusiasm for a parliament with limited powers to affect policy.
King Abdullah II can appoint and sack military and intelligence chiefs, judges and members of parliament’s upper house without government approval.
Early turnout was low at polling stations in the capital.
Even those who did show up said they were doing so only in the hope that this election would see change.