Despite a record low participation rate mostly attributed to a spike in coronavirus cases in the country, it seems that every aspect of Jordanian elections this year has been quite bizarre and very unusual.
الان احتفالات بفوز شادي الفريج بمحافظة معان pic.twitter.com/vKr4ps9lzn— الهاشم? (@alhashim888) November 10, 2020
Translation: "Now, celebrations following the win of Shady Alfraij in Ma'an ."
Starting from the 4-day curfew imposed nationwide a few hours after voting stopped, in a government attempt to avoid gatherings in celebration of winners, many Jordanians have expressed their shock over the scenes that followed the 2020 parliamentary elections held last Tuesday.
Not only did several winning to-be legislators defy the curfew along with their supporters, but gatherings of thousands of people in several locations across the country have also been featuring no social distancing and guns fired in the air, posing a very dangerous violation of the law, one that can potentially endanger many lives.
According to the Independent Election Commission, the national voter turnout rate in the 2020 elections didn't exceed 29.90%.
طب قسمبالله لو انه مافي انتخابات لفكرت إنه الدواعش احتلوا البلد pic.twitter.com/gwOUyAcYaK— العجلوني | Mohammad (@Mohd_AjlouNi) November 11, 2020
Translation: "If it's not for the elections, I would have assumed that ISIS has invaded the country"
Social media users have been sharing numerous videos of extreme violations of law, ones carried out by prospective MPs and their supporters, saying that the government shouldn't have held elections at this time of the year, especially that Jordan continues to set record numbers of coronavirus cases, and is in a dire need for measures that curb the spread of the pandemic before hospitals near the breaking point.
Additionally, many online commentators shared videos and photos of kids firing guns and automatic weaponry during elections' celebrations, which has been perceived by many as "unprecedented scenes that are foreign to the Jordanian public."
مقطع فيديو متداول لطفل يوم بإطلاق النار من رشاش، في احد الاحتفالات بفوز أحد المرشحين على ما يعتقد أنه في معان pic.twitter.com/WmLg0ySNPD— الأردنية نت (@alurdunyya) November 11, 2020
Translation: "A viral video showing a kid firing an automatic gun in an election celebration thought to be in Ma'an."
بوشر التحقيق بمقطع ظهر خلاله طفل يطلق العيارات النارية حيث تبين انه حدث في مدينة معان وجرى تحديد هوية الطفل .— Jordan Darak Forces - قوات الدرك الاردنية (@DarakJo) November 11, 2020
واضاف الناطق الاعلامي انه جرى ضبط والد الطفل وبوشر التحقيق معه حيث ستتخذ بحقه الاجراءات القانونية والادارية وبما يضمن حماية الطفل وعدم تعريضه للخطر مستقبلا pic.twitter.com/2vi39f4CG9
Translation: "An investigation has been open regarding a clip in which a child was shown firing shots, as it was found that he had taken place in Ma'an, and the identity of the child was identified. The media spokesman added that the child's father was arrested and an investigation has begun, as legal and administrative measures will be taken against him to ensure the protection of the child and to not expose the child to danger in the future."
Even more controversially were calls of unsuccessful candidates for a recount of votes and for investigations into illegal ones, saying that their delegates have detected several examples of election fraud, which has reminded Twitter users of the rhetoric expressed by the US President Donald Trump after his Democratic opponent has been projected as the winner of last week's elections.
1172 صوت هي ما منحوني اياه في مجموغ صناديق الدائرة الثانية من 75 مدرسة.. عندي ادلة مادية على ان رقمي اضعاف هذا الزقم وعليه فانني سارفع قضية بناء على شهادة الشهود من المندوبين والناخبين.. اطلب من كل من صوت لي ان يكتب هنا اين صوت وفي اي مدرسة واي صندوق لمساعدتي في الطعن في النتائج.— د. رلى الفرا الحروب (@RulaAlhroob) November 11, 2020
Translation: "A total of 1172 votes are what they gave me in the second constituency of 75 schools. I have physical evidence that my numbers are many times double this number. Therefore, I will file a lawsuit based on the testimony of the delegates and voters' witnesses. I ask everyone who voted for me to leave a comment of where they voted, in which school and which box to help me challenge the results."
In response to the chaos that followed the elections, the Jordanian government has pledged to persecute everyone who defied the curfew as its officials warned of severe spikes of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks, as the Minister of Health has suggested imposing a "smart lockdown" that doesn't hurt the most vulnerable workers but helps control the pandemic in the country.
While Jordan had earned a positive reputation in regard to controlling the coronavirus outbreak since March, the country has witnessed a huge surge in cases since mid-August, having had more than 126K confirmed cases and 1,467 with an average of 5k infection cases a day over the last few weeks.
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