Naughty Jordanian election candidates caught buying their way into power

Published January 20th, 2013 - 12:17 GMT
A Jordanian man walks past electoral campaign posters in Amman. (AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
A Jordanian man walks past electoral campaign posters in Amman. (AFP PHOTO/KHALIL MAZRAAWI)

Amman prosecutors on Saturday detained two candidates, one of whom heads a national ticket and another running in Amman’s 2nd District, for 15 days pending interrogation over vote buying. Amman Prosecutor General Mohammad Sourani ordered the detention of the national ticket candidate in Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre. His name was not disclosed.

Amman Prosecutor General Ahmad Rawahneh ordered the detention of the candidate from Amman’s 2nd District. The Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted an unnamed judicial source as saying that the 2nd District candidate, his office’s director and a woman in her 60s, who allegedly bought votes for him, were detained on charges of vote buying upon a complaint from the Independent Elections Commission. 

The candidate, whose name was not disclosed either, denied the allegations.  The source told Petra that the candidate denied dealing with his office director, adding that police arrested the woman and the unnamed office director while they were offering to buy votes at JD10 each.

On Friday, the Amman prosecutor general charged two candidates running for Wednesday’s parliamentary elections with attempting to influence voters by giving out financial “assistance”, the police said. Both candidates, one from Amman’s 3rd District and the other from a national ticket, were charged with committing election crimes for allegedly offering financial assistance and pledging to offer money to voters, in violation of the Elections Law.

The first candidate was also charged with withholding voter identification cards, in violation of the law, Petra, reported. The candidates were not detained, pending further investigation and until a date is set for a court hearing.   The police had earlier summoned the candidates, whose names were not disclosed, for questioning after they were tipped off that they offered financial aid to voters and were withholding voter IDs. 

Last week, Rawahneh issued orders that a candidate from Amman’s 2nd District be detained for 15 days pending interrogation over allegations of offering money to voters. A security source said criminal investigation personnel seized JD5,900 worth of cheques and receipts signed by the candidate to be dispersed over 590 voters with JD10 for each.

The name of the candidate was not disclosed. Mafraq’s prosecutor general also detained another candidate from Qasabat Al Mafraq (central district) at the Jweideh Correctional and Rehabilitation Centre for 15 days pending interrogation over vote buying attempts. Local reports said the Mafraq candidate was a woman. If convicted, candidates involved in vote buying face imprisonment of at least three years and no more than seven with hard labour, according to the Elections Law.


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