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IRI Board Members Meet with King Abdullah, Discuss Jordan's Elections

January 24, 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah meets with international monitors of the just ended election process in Jordan, in Amman on Thursday (Petra photo)

Vote success reflects growing public tendency towards wider participation — King
The Jordan TImes
by Hani Hazaimeh and Khaled Neimat and Amjad YaminHis Majesty King Abdullah meets with international monitors of the just ended election process in Jordan, in Amman on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday described the Wednesday parliamentary polls as a “success”, adding that the consultations among blocs in the new House will start to designate a prime minister.

Meanwhile, the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) announced the results of the vote (see list of winners).

His Majesty made his remarks at a meeting with a delegation of international monitors.

Thanking the monitors for their efforts and highlighting the significance of their role, King Abdullah noted that the landmark elections, which kick-start a parliamentary government system experiment, were carried out in an environment that supported transparency and fairness, a Royal Court statement said.

Briefed on their evaluation of the vote, in which around 57 per cent of registered voters took part, the King said authorities would take their notes into account to develop flawless election procedures in subsequent elections.

Commenting on the turnout percentage, which exceeded that of the 2003, 2007 and 2010 elections, His Majesty said the figure reflected “Jordanians’ commitment to expand their participation in political life and the decision-making process”.

The parliamentary government’s phase is prone to foster democracy and pluralism and reinforce political parties, the King told the delegates.

King Abdullah voiced hope that the newly elected Lower House would efficiently undertake its legislation and monitoring tasks, and help the country build on its previous accomplishments.

The gradual reform process will not stop, he said, and its course will be determined through debate, compromises and consolidation of the ideas of different segments of Jordanian society, His Majesty added.

Results

After a delay in vote counting blamed on inexperience with a totally new system, the IEC announced the final results, which brought at least a third of the 16th House back under the Dome.

The results also showed that the moderate Islamic Centrist Party won three of the 27 seats designated for the national list.

Twenty-three of the 61 tickets that competed under the national list won seats, of which three ended up with two and the rest with one. The National Current Party list, led by veteran lawmaker Abdul Hadi Majali, won one seat reserved for its top man.

Two women won outside women’s quota in Amman and Jerash, while 15 other female candidates were announced winners under the quota system.

Three candidates who had been detained for suspected involvement in vote buying, Mohammad Khashman, Ahmad Safadi and Adnan Abu Rukbeh were named winners.

Safadi and Abu Rukbeh won seats in Amman’s 3rd District and Madaba’s 1st District, respectively, while Khashman, who heads the National Union Party list, won a seat at the national level.

Several local districts witnessed a delay in the announcement of their preliminary results last night, due to what the IEC described as the “new system for the polls”.

During an earlier press conference on Thursday, IEC President Abdul Ilah Khatib said the delay was due to the new measures involved in this year’s polls, including national list seats and the fact that voters had two votes.

“We were very busy in counting the votes of the national lists, which was unexpectedly hard and took a longer time than planned,” he added.

The delay in announcing the results of the polls caused some disruption and violence in some governorates such as Maan, Karak and Irbid, among other areas.

Otherwise, the elections went on without major incidents, with police stressing that a soft approach to tensions was adopted to contain violence.

King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces, on Thursday visited the Public Security Department (PSD) and met with its chief, Gen. Hussein Majali.

During the visit, the Monarch expressed his pride and confidence in the PSD personnel and the role they play in maintaining security and the safety of citizens and private and public assets.

Final figures

The number of voters who cast their ballots on election day across the country stood at 1,288,043 out of 2,272,182 registered voters, with Karak’s 6th District accounting for the highest turnout, the IEC said on Thursday.

The overall turnout was 56.69 per cent, in accordance with the latest calculations, the IEC pointed out.

The turnout at Karak’s 6th District amounted to around 90 per cent, whereas Amman’s 2nd District recorded the lowest turnout at around 37.5 per cent with the percentage of male voters slightly higher than that of female voters, according to the commission as cited by the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

At the governorate level, the capital recorded the lowest turnout at 43.51 per cent, followed by Zarqa Governorate, which saw a turnout of around 47.94 per cent.

Irbid ranked third with around 60 per cent, followed by Balqa and Aqaba where the turnout stood at around 62 per cent and 62.4 per cent, respectively.

The turnout figure recorded in the southern governorate of Maan, where a tribal culture is more distinct, was 67.7 per cent, the IEC indicated. Madaba was close behind with a percentage of around 69.9 per cent.

In the governorates of Tafileh, Ajloun, Karak, Jerash, the Southern Badia, Mafraq, Central Badia and Northern Badia, the turnout ranged between 70 per cent and around 75.5 per cent, the IEC reported.

Monitors

In their meeting with the King, the international monitors “commended the integrity of the elections and the measures taken by the IEC to ensure a transparent and smooth process”, adding that “all monitors carried out their tasks freely and without any obstacles”, according to the Royal Court statement.

Local, Arab and international observers said in separate press briefings that this year’s parliamentary elections had gone smoothly, but pointed out some shortcomings that need to be addressed in future polls.

The Arab League’s observer mission said Wednesday’s elections were free and transparent, adding that the Jordanian people exercised their right to vote without coercion or interference.

Also on Thursday, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) observer delegation, which included 50 observers from 29 countries, said the parliamentary elections had shown a marked improvement in procedures and administration from past polls, but added that it had found several shortcomings and irregularities.