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Jordan parliamentary vote: Islamist opposition set to make comeback

The voting was monitored by 14,000 local observers and 676 from abroad, including 66 from the European Union. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION Amman Governorate, Jordan Sep 20, 2016, 11.28 PM (IST)
Jordan could witness the return of its moderate Islamist opposition from Tuesday's parliamentary election.

The Islamist leaders have regained influence after surviving government attempts to ban it as a part of a wider crackdown on political Islam. 

The electoral commission extended voting by an hour in major cities including Amman as great crowds turned up for the voting. 

The Islamic Action Front, the political arm of Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood could win up to a fifth of the seats in the Parliament. 

The IAF is expected to clinch about 20 seats in the 130-member Parliament, which would make it the largest opposition force.

The group attracted a broader base after ditching its "Islam is the Solution" slogan and joining with Christians to create a civic grouping - The National Coalition for Reform.

"I chose the party that wants to represent me," said a 19-year-old student, Baraa Zeidan. "I hope they will step up and solve our problems with transport, employment and the education system."

Voting was monitored by 14,000 local observers and 676 from abroad, including 66 from the European Union.

"We in Jordan are proud of the fact that we have recourse to the ballot box and dialogue through elections at a time when you hear only the sound of gunfire in several countries in the region," said government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.

But the low turnout confirmed the anticipated apathy from many voters with minimal confidence in a pro-government Parliament.

The opposition complained of "several" irregularities, including vote-buying. The commission assured that it was investigating the allegations.

The election represents a modest step in the democratisation process launched by King Abdullah.

He seeks to insulate Jordan from the spillover of wars in Syria and Iraq and the burden of hosting thousands of refugees. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
 
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