Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood claims victory in local elections

#InsideJordan

After boycotting past two local elections, Muslim Brotherhood wins significant number of seats despite low voter turnout

Jordanian woman casts her ballot at polling station for local and municipal elections in Amman (Reuters)
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Last update: 
Thursday 17 August 2017 13:00 UTC
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A coalition tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan claimed victory in local elections on Wednesday after the group boycotted the previous two elections.

The party’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), said their coalition - the National Alliance for Reform – won five of 12 seats in Amman and 25 of 48 provincial council seats.

These provincial council seats were established to decentralise government operations and localise decisions without interference from the central government of the kingdom.

"At the level of local councils, the coalition won 41 seats, out of 88 candidates," said IAF election panel chief Murad al-Adayla.

More than 6,500 candidates vied for 2,444 seats across the country, according to Jordan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC). Despite the large number of candidates, only 31 percent of the country’s 4.1 million eligible voters cast ballots.

In addition, women did not appear to vote in large numbers, according to a Jordan Times report.

“The percentages of women’s participation also differ from one governorate to another, with the highest recorded in Mafraq - 16 percent - and the lowest in Amman – 3.42 percent,” said IEC commissioner Samar Hajj.

Regardless of the low turnout, Jordanian authorities praised the outcome of the elections.

“The Jordanian State continues its comprehensive reforms and dialogue through the ballot box,” said Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.

"In neighbouring countries there is bloodshed, violence and murder,” he added.

The Muslim Brotherhood similarly praised the election.

“We have succeeded in winning the presidency of three major and important municipalities after a 10-year boycott [of local elections],” candidate Mohammed Marwan told Middle East Eye, adding that it was an important achievement.

Mohammed Ayesh contributed to this report