Jordan holds parliamentary elections


Jordanian election officials start counting votes in Amman on January 23, 2013. Jordanians turned out in numbers for polls snubbed by Islamists who alleged vote buying and shed doubt on turnout figures, slamming as illegitimate what is likely to be an opposition-free body.


Khalil Mazraawi

Parliamentary elections are being held today in Jordan, where authorities have sought to quell a growing anti-government movement, reported Reuters.

The vote is meant to signal the start of a reform process that would restrict the king's powers in favor of more representative rule, according to The Belfast Telegraph.

However, the country's main opposition Muslim Brotherhood party is boycotting the poll over corruption concerns, said Reuters, adding: 

"The Brotherhood's absence has reduced the election to a contest between tribal leaders, establishment figures and businessmen, with just a few of the 1,500 candidates running for recognized parties. Allegations of vote buying are rife."

The amount of voter turnout was not immediately clear, with opposition groups accusing the authorities of inflating the figures, said Reuters

The Telegraph said the election is Jordan's first since uprisings shook the Arab world last year, unrest that lead to the downfall of many longtime rulers.

The Jordanian monarch is a critical US ally in the region.