Government loyalists win Jordan elections

Opposition boycotted the vote

24 January, 17:25

(By Mohammad Ben Hussein) (ANSAmed) - AMMAN, 24 JANUARY - Traditional loyalists of king Abdullah unsurprisingly swept majority of the new parliament seats, according to initial results, despite victory of handful of independent candidates in Wednesday's elections.

Early results in the parliament elections, boycotted by the opposition, were no different to the previous two elections in 2008 and 2010, with loyalists from the security, business and tribal base dominating the 17 the parliament.

A fragmented group of two dozens of independent liftists and Islamists MPs also won, the only force that could make noise in the parliament, said observes.

The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) said 1,23 million or around 56.69 per cent of the 2,3 million registered voters took part in the polls.

Final results were due later Thursday, as the polls were tainted by accusation of vote rigging by the opposition.

Rula Heroub, one of the few women to win in the open contest, said she will resign in protest against vote counting measures adopted by the commission.

The Islamist movement said it has proof that the elections were marred by fraud, including participation of the security forces in voting.

Describing the polls as a milestone in reform, officials from the commission said the polls have received applause from western observers.

Meanwhile, prime minister Abdullah Nesour is poised to resign as officials from the independent election commission prepare to announce final results.

The king is expected to meet MPs to discuss appointment of a new prime minister, a new protocol in line with recent constitutional amendments endorsed by the monarch.

The polls were marred by clashes between rival tribes and attacks on polling stations in rural areas. Police officials said a total of 46 incidents were reported in the first 11 hours of voting.

Two members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who broke ranks with the group and ran in the polls, won. They are likely to be fired from the group in the near future.

The Islamist movement refused to participate in the polls that it describes as repetition of same political narrative in previous two decades, where the royal court is in control of the country's political destiny.

An international observation delegation fielded by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) said Wednesday's parliamentary elections saw a marked improvement in procedures and administration from past polls. But it also found election day shortcomings and irregularities, as well as a number of systemic distortions.

"The unequal size of districts and an electoral system that amplifies family, tribal and national cleavages limit the development of a truly national legislative body and challenge King Abdullah's stated aim of encouraging 'full parliamentary government,'" the mission said in a statement received by ANSA.

(ANSAmed).

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