Independent candidates close to the kingdom's royal family won a majority of the seats in Jordan's first legislative polls since 1997, according to final results. Meanwhile, the leading opposition group complained of electoral fraud.
The independents, notably representatives of the major tribes and families traditionally loyal to the Hashemite royal family, carried a large majority of the parliament's 110 seats and more than half the country's 45 constituencies, the interior ministry said, according to AFP.
No woman was elected in Tuesday's vote and a special commission has been charged with choosing six women to fill the quota of seats reserved for them, from the 54 women candidates who participated.
After the end of the 12-hour voting process, turnout percentage at the national level was 58.87. The lowest turnout was in Amman governorate, where 44.62 percent of voters cast ballots, while the highest was 82.11 percent in Karak.
The key opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), which boycotted the last polls, won more than half of the 30 seats which it contested. The IAF, whose early results had appeared disastrous, charged that the polls had been marred by vote rigging.
Its major success was the election of its six candidates in the capital.
However, IAF secretary general Hamza Mansur claimed in a letter to Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb that "hundreds of voting cards were forged" in Karak by supporters of an unnamed candidate with the use of a special device.
"Electoral fraud has come out in the open and the electoral process has been rendered illegitimate," he charged.
Overall the Islamists won less than 15 percent of the seats in the chamber which will be largely made up of newcomers as a result of the vote.
The former speaker of the lower house, Abdel Hadi Majali, won a seat in the Karak governorate, 120 kilometers south of Amman, interior ministry officials said.
Former prime minister Abdel Raouf Rawabdeh was also re-elected in the northern governorate of Irbid.
King Abdullah II stated Tuesday voting was a historical
day for Jordan. During his visit to the Interior Ministry, the king urged the citizens to participate in voting to choose the deputy who represents their ambitions, hopes, and the future of Jordan.
Abdullah noted after the visit that the new parliament makes Jordan a stemming point for democratic and political life in the region.
Answering a question on the Muslim brotherhood participation in the elections, the monarch said the Muslim brotherhood is part of the social and political body in Jordan. The King expressed satisfaction over the participation of the Muslim brotherhood in the elections because it is part of the democratic process, adding that he never doubted that they will take part. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )