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Gunfire, riots and power cuts after controversial Jordan poll

Civil unrest at initial polling results as Islamic Action Front alleges widespread bribery and vote-rigging
The head of Jordan's electoral commission said officials 'had not slept' in effort to speed up the vote count (Reuters)

Widespread rioting broke out in Jordan on Tuesday night after preliminary results of the country’s parliamentary election were reported, amid complaints of vote-rigging.

Residents of the restive southern city of Maan blocked roads, burned tyres and threw bricks until disturbances were eventually quelled by Jordanian security forces, according to the local news website Roya.

Residents told Roya that they heard intense gunfire after nightfall and that electricity was cut off in various areas of the city.

There was another reported incident of rioting just north-west of the capital, Amman, after supporters of a parliamentary candidate, who has not been named, read news reports which suggested that he had not won a seat.

In Madaba, just south-west of Amman, members of the special forces used tear gas to disperse angry crowds who burned tyres in front of the local electoral commission headquarters. A member of the special forces sustained a gunshot wound during the riot and was treated in hospital, authorities said.

The head of Jordan’s electoral commission, Jihad al-Mumani, put out a statement on Wednesday afternoon denying that any official election results had been announced.

“The counting committees have not stopped – they have not slept, and their exhaustion has impacted on the speed of the count,” he said in an official statement.

Mumani said any election results that had been reported in local news sites and newspapers were “unofficial and inaccurate”.

The elections, the first in which the Islamic Action Front, the local Muslim Brotherhood affiliate party, has run since 2007, recorded a turnout of just 36 percent.

There have been numerous allegations of violations of electoral law across the country and the Islamic Action Front has complained of “irregularities”, saying vote-buying had been taking place openly outside polling stations.

In one district south of Amman, the results of the vote have been nullified after ballot boxes were destroyed by vandals.