Brotherhood lay forged ID cards on table: Are Jordan's elections rigged?
It hasn't been a good week for the Jordanian government; after protests swept through the capital, accusations of mass election fraud have now emerged. The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan claim to have details of 70,000 forged ID cards in their possession.
Yesterday, the Islamic Action Front (IAF) - the Kingdom's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood - released details of the cards they claim were issued by the government's Civil Status and Passports Department (CSPD) in a bid to fix the 2010 parliamentary elections.
King Abdullah has promised a free, fair and transparent election at the end of this year. But as Jordanians gear up to register their vote, the IAF say these "fake" IDs "could be used to rig the upcoming polls".
The group has been vocal with its belief that Jordan's voting system is inherently corrupt and had already announced that they will be boycotting this year's election. In an interview with CBS last month, King Abdullah said the party are "shooting themselves in the foot" by shunning the vote.
He went on to say: "If the Muslim Brotherhood wants to change the Constitution and the Political Parties Law…[they should] do it inside the Parliament”.
However, the Brotherhood argue that the corrupt voting system in Jordan leaves them no choice but to boycott. As promised last week, they have now posted the alleged hard evidence of the election violations. These include mismatched names and numbers demonstrating how the fraud would be perpetrated. The lists show several ID cards for the same person with different national numbers, dates of birth or family names.
The Islamists accuse official agencies of attempting to hack the site after the files were released.
Government departments have been keen to shut down the allegations. CSPD director, Marwan Qteishat has said: "The names included in the Islamists' list do not exist at all in the department's database."
Qteishat argues that there are several holes in the fake ID theory. He says that whilst real IDs use the numeric date system, those shown on the website spell out the months in full.
Head of the Independent Elections Commission (IEC), Abdalelah Al-Khateeb, was also skeptical of the Party's claims and challenged the group to provide more information.
The IEC say that cards in this format would not be accepted in this year's poll and today warned forgers that they would be punished. But, all the fuss may be for nothing as elections will not take place at all unless registrations take a running jump from their current low.
What do you think of the Brotherhood's allegations? And, what could this mean for Jordan? Leave us your comments below!