09/20/2016, 09.21
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Jordan holds legislative elections. Muslim Brotherhood also running

4.1 million eligible voters out of a total of 6.6 million inhabitants. They will have to choose between 1,252 candidates, for a total of 130 seats. Highest abstention figure yet, around 42%. Experts predict Islamic Action Front will win 20 seats and become the leading opposition party.


Amman (AsiaNews / Agencies) - This morning polls opened at 7 in Jordan - a constitutional monarchy – in legislative elections to renew Parliament. They are about 4.1 million eligible voters out of a total of about 6.6 million inhabitants, who will be called to choose between 1,252 candidates, for a total of 130 seats.

The election has not sparked great interest given that Parliament has limited powers and is dominated by representatives of two tribal groups loyal to the Hashemite monarchy. However, today's vote marks the return of the Muslim Brotherhood who boycotted the two previous ballots.

There were 15 women, nine Christians and three representatives of ethnic minorities among the deputies elected in the last parliamentary term of four years.

Analysts and experts point out that the real surprise of this vote will be the turnout. According to a recent survey developed by the Jordanian Phenis Center for Studies and Research, 42% of voters plan to boycott the polls. Among those who will go to vote, 32.6% will choose first and foremost a member of their own tribe or family.

The only unknown factor remains tied to the number of votes that will go to the Islamic Action Front (FAI), the local political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. For experts on, the movement linked to Islamic extremism should get a maximum of 20 seats, becoming the first political opposition force in Parliament.

FAI had deserted the elections of 2010 and 2013, in protest against alleged fraud and irregularities in the voting process. Last June, the pro-extremist Islamic movement had announced their intention to compete at the polls, although weakened by internal divisions and the increasing repression of the authorities.

An active member of the international coalition that is fighting against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq, Jordan has continually denounced jihadist infiltration of its territory and the danger of a growing influence of extremist groups and fighters.

In February 2015 an Air Force pilot was captured by Daesh [Arabic acronym for the IS] in Syria and the pilot was burned alive, in the context of a grisly execution that has horrified the world. The jihadist challenge combines the enormous effort made by the country which has opened its doors and welcomed over a million refugees, 20% of the population.

This combined with the struggle of the government and the monarchy against Islamic extremism and the brotherhood itself. In April police shut down the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, in Amman. In 2012, the Parliament voted to ban the political wing of the brotherhood, FAI. A measure in a package of electoral reforms called after the protests of 2011 related to the Arab Spring, organized by the democratic parties, and later taken over the Islamist opposition.

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