First municipal elections in Jordan; Islamists withdraw
Jordanians headed Tuesday to the ballot boxes to choose for the first time council members of 93 municipalities in the Kingdom and half of the members of the Greater Amman Municipality council.
According to Petra news agency, the process of polling which started at 7:00 am will end at 5:00 pm. The law has given heads of election committees the right to extend polls for additional four hours if the voter turnout is less than 51 percent. The centers will open for an additional day if the voter turnout does not meet the minimum requirement of 51 percent after these 14 hours. After second day of polling, the government will count the votes, regardless of the turnout percentage.
The number of citizens who have registered to vote in all the Kingdom's governorates was 1,895,013 including 968,594 males and 926,419 females. A total of 2,706 candidates, including 361 women, have registered to run for the positions of mayor and council members in the 93 municipalities.
Under the new Municipalities Law, adopted earlier this year, the age of eligible voters has been reduced from 19 to 18 years to expand the base of voters. The law also allocates a minimum of 220 out of the 965 municipal council seats for women.
In the Amman governorate, more than 500,000 voters headed to the polls to elect their representatives. The number of candidates for the Amman Municipality Council stands at 194 including 23 women competing for 27 seats. Seven other seats are allocated for women in line with the new Municipalities Law.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the main opposition movement in Jordan, announced that it had pulled out from the election process. The IAF requested in a statement all its candidates to withdraw from the elections in protest against what it described "some measures" and practices taken by the government in the elections.