Jordan election seen as step toward democratic reform
Today’s Jordan parliament election is being touted as proof that the pro-Western monarchy is moving forward with democratic reforms despite regional turmoil and security threats. Officials point to new rules of voting and the participation of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood for the first time in almost a decade. But critics argue that this year’s electoral reform – ostensibly meant to strengthen political parties – has fallen short and that the revised system continues to favour King Abdullah II’s traditional tribal supporters. They expect the parliament being chosen today to be similar to the outgoing one – largely an assembly of individuals with competing narrow interests, widely dismissed by Jordanians as ineffective in dealing with endemic unemployment and other crises. In today’s election, Jordanians will choose 130 members of parliament, with 15 seats reserved for women, nine for Christians and three for minority Chechens and Circassians.