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The first parliamentary elections in Jordan since the Arab spring have been marked by a boycott from the main opposition parties.

The US-backed monarchy has not witnessed the revolutions and turmoil seen elsewhere, although there have been large anti-corruption protests.

King Abdullah has introduced reforms and the government has promised greater democracy.

Shunning the vote, the Muslim Brotherhood says the system is biased. It believes the poll favours rural tribal areas where government support is strong, at the expense of its own urban powerbase.

“If the number of voters that head to the ballot stations is small, as it is expected to be, then certainly this will compromise the legitimacy of the next parliament,” said Sheikh Hamzeh Mansour, head of the Islamic Action Front, affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.

For the first time the king is due to choose a prime minister from among the largest block in parliament.

But the boycott means only a few of the 1,500 candidates represent recognised parties.

The opposition want still more powers shifted from monarch to parliament.

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