Jor­dan sets date for par­lia­ment elec­tions

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

AMMAN—Jor­dan is to hold par­lia­ment elec­tions on Sept 20, the coun­try’s In­de­pen­dent Elec­tions Com­mis­sion an­nounced on Fri­day.

The bal­lot­ing for 130 mem­bers of par­lia­ment will be the first un­der a new elec­toral law. Crit­ics and op­po­si­tion fig­ures have said the new rules, while an im­prove­ment, don’t go far enough in en­cour­ag­ing the formation of po­lit­i­cal par­ties in place of tribal pol­i­tics.

The vote is also com­ing at a time when the main po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion group, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, is frac­tured and in dis­ar­ray. Jor­dan also faces grow­ing eco­nomic and se­cu­rity prob­lems, caused in part by fall­out from the con­flicts in Syria and Iraq.

In this cli­mate, po­lit­i­cal re­forms have been on hold. Ear­lier this year, the out­go­ing par­lia­ment adopted con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments that con­sol­i­dated the al­ready con­sid­er­able pow­ers of King Ab­dul­lah II, giv­ing him, among other things, the sole author­ity to ap­point lead­ers of the se­cu­rity forces and mem­bers of the con­sti­tu­tional court.

The last par­lia­ment elec­tion was held in Jan­uary 2013, un­der a sys­tem in which a voter could only vote for one can­di­date in his or her dis­trict. Un­der the new law, a voter can choose as many can­di­dates as there mem­bers of par­lia­ment rep­re­sent­ing the dis­trict. In the up­com­ing elec­tion, Jor­dan will be di­vided into 23 elec­toral dis­tricts.

The new rules also re­duced the num­ber of mem­bers of par­lia­ment from 150 to 130. Fif­teen seats are re­served for women, nine for Chris­tians and three for eth­nic mi­nori­ties. The king had dis­solved the old par­lia­ment in late May, paving the way for new elec­tions within four months.—Agencies

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