Jordan is bracing itself for a record low turnout on Tuesday, as Islamist parties boycott what they say is a government-controlled sham. Protesters say parliament has lost its independence and is increasingly a mere rubber stamp for government policies. The Islamist no-show and general voter apathy could herald the smallest turnout since parliament was revived in 1989.
“The electoral law does not allow the formation of a representative body which would portray the will of people,” said Jamil Abu Baker from the Islamic Action Front. “It will not result in a parliament that can carry out its political and constitutional duties.”
Critics say the electoral laws under-represent large cities with pro-Islamist or Palestinian majorities, in favour of tribal areas loyal to Jordan’s Royalist government. However, some candidates defend the system and are enthusiastic about taking part.
“It will be the first time that we see free and fair elections in Jordan,” said the Patriotic Party’s Jamal al-Alawi. “If I wasn’t convinced of that, I wouldn’t take part.”
Euronews’ correspondent in Amman, Mohamed Elhamy, says the failure to reform and change electoral laws have prompted the Islamist boycott. The legitimacy of the vote will only become clear when the turnout figure is known.