Jordan counts ballots in poll hit by boycott

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Jordan counts ballots in poll hit by boycott

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Counting is underway in Jordan’s parliamentary election.

Boycotted by the main opposition, critics say the ballot will provide a compliant assembly that preserves the status quo.

The absent Islamic Action Front claims polls are meaningless as parliament has been sidelined.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Samir Rifai disagrees.

“We were very clear that the only way to change anything that they think is not going right is by democratic process, by a parliament, by voting on the things they like, voting on the things they dislike,” he said. “We are sorry they are not participating but it is purely their choice.”

The electoral system favours tribal areas loyal to the monarchy over mainly Islamist towns and cities. Just after polls closed, turnout was put at 53 per cent.

“Preliminary information says there is good turnout in the north and south but in the centre the turnout is low,” said official election monitor Amer Bani Amer.

Election day violence was reported in places, including a shootout between supporters of rival candidates that left one man dead.

According to Euronews correspondent Mohamed Elhamy, the composition of the new parliament will be known soon. But many analysts are sceptical about its ability to perform politically, especially in the absence of the main opposition in the elections.