9 things you didn’t know about elections in Jordan

Published September 20th, 2016 - 11:12 GMT

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Politics in Jordan are always a little bit quiet - and on the bright side, it’s saved the country from much of the upheaval seen by its neighbors over the last five years. But there are plenty of developments to watch out for in this year’s election, from Islamists participating in elections for the first time in years, to women’s representation, to a new electoral system signed into law earlier this year. The new law abolished the one-person, one-vote system, replacing it with a multi-member list, which, if more complicated, is aimed at making parliament more representative and could potentially strengthen political parties.  Continue reading below »

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Rallies are in tents, not in the streets. If you go to a political rally in Jordan, don’t expect rhetoric to fall along the lines of the typical liberal or conservative spectrum. Instead, you’ll mostly encounter speeches calling for national unity, while being served coffee and baklava under a tent reminiscent of the country’s Bedouin roots.
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Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9Rallies are in tents, not in the streets. If you go to a political rally in Jordan, don’t expect rhetoric to fall along the lines of the typical liberal or conservative spectrum. Instead, you’ll mostly encounter speeches calling for national unity, while being served coffee and baklava under a tent reminiscent of the country’s Bedouin roots.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
Youth rock the vote. In Europe or North America, it might seem strange to have political parties dedicated to supporting the youth. But in Jordan, 70 percent of the population is under 30, facing unemployment of up to 27 percent. With those figures, some are calling for reducing the minimum age for parliamentarians.
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Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9Youth rock the vote. In Europe or North America, it might seem strange to have political parties dedicated to supporting the youth. But in Jordan, 70 percent of the population is under 30, facing unemployment of up to 27 percent. With those figures, some are calling for reducing the minimum age for parliamentarians.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
After years of self-imposed political exile, Jordan’s Islamists will join this year’s election. Since Jordan’s branch severed ties with the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood, the re-organized Islamic Action Front are seeking a stronger role in parliament this year. Here, Atef Odeibat speaks at a Wasat al-Islami rally in Amman.
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Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9After years of self-imposed political exile, Jordan’s Islamists will join this year’s election. Since Jordan’s branch severed ties with the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood, the re-organized Islamic Action Front are seeking a stronger role in parliament this year. Here, Atef Odeibat speaks at a Wasat al-Islami rally in Amman.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
Corruption in politics usually brings to mind high-rolling Washington lobbyists and corporate donations. In Jordan, vote-buying tends to be on a smaller scale: a candidate might offer to pay off a family’s debt or to pay for a wedding party in exchange for support at the polls.
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Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9Corruption in politics usually brings to mind high-rolling Washington lobbyists and corporate donations. In Jordan, vote-buying tends to be on a smaller scale: a candidate might offer to pay off a family’s debt or to pay for a wedding party in exchange for support at the polls.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
Tribalism holds sway. Some 43 percent of candidates running for parliament do so based on tribal affiliation, while less than 10 percent identify with political parties. While voter turnout is high in rural areas, in Amman, it tends to be much lower. A recent poll revealed only 38 percent of Jordanians planned on voting.
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Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9Tribalism holds sway. Some 43 percent of candidates running for parliament do so based on tribal affiliation, while less than 10 percent identify with political parties. While voter turnout is high in rural areas, in Amman, it tends to be much lower. A recent poll revealed only 38 percent of Jordanians planned on voting.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
Jordan welcomed independent, international observers from the European Union, China, the Arab League, and others who monitor the electoral process and then present reports on their findings. They are particularly interested in seeing how the new election law, which abolished the one-person, one-vote system, will play out.
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Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9Jordan welcomed independent, international observers from the European Union, China, the Arab League, and others who monitor the electoral process and then present reports on their findings. They are particularly interested in seeing how the new election law, which abolished the one-person, one-vote system, will play out.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

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Women’s participation. There are 258 women across the Kingdom running this year. The region with the highest participation of women running for office is in the northern Badia region, where 36 percent of candidates are women.
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Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9Women’s participation. There are 258 women across the Kingdom running this year. The region with the highest participation of women running for office is in the northern Badia region, where 36 percent of candidates are women.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
Training electoral workers on how to man a polling station, tabulate results, and send them to Amman, from across Jordan’s 12 governorates is no small task. There are new rules, plus workers have to make sure rural voters know how to get to their polling station on election day.
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Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9Training electoral workers on how to man a polling station, tabulate results, and send them to Amman, from across Jordan’s 12 governorates is no small task. There are new rules, plus workers have to make sure rural voters know how to get to their polling station on election day.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge
The new electoral law reduced the number of seats in parliament, employing a multi-member “list” system, rather than the unpopular one-person, one-vote system. The new law has left some confused about how it actually works - 58 percent of voters said they were “not at all” aware of the law’s content in a recent poll.
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Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9The new electoral law reduced the number of seats in parliament, employing a multi-member “list” system, rather than the unpopular one-person, one-vote system. The new law has left some confused about how it actually works - 58 percent of voters said they were “not at all” aware of the law’s content in a recent poll.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

Enlarge

1

Rallies are in tents, not in the streets. If you go to a political rally in Jordan, don’t expect rhetoric to fall along the lines of the typical liberal or conservative spectrum. Instead, you’ll mostly encounter speeches calling for national unity, while being served coffee and baklava under a tent reminiscent of the country’s Bedouin roots.

Image 1 of 9Rallies are in tents, not in the streets. If you go to a political rally in Jordan, don’t expect rhetoric to fall along the lines of the typical liberal or conservative spectrum. Instead, you’ll mostly encounter speeches calling for national unity, while being served coffee and baklava under a tent reminiscent of the country’s Bedouin roots.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

2

Youth rock the vote. In Europe or North America, it might seem strange to have political parties dedicated to supporting the youth. But in Jordan, 70 percent of the population is under 30, facing unemployment of up to 27 percent. With those figures, some are calling for reducing the minimum age for parliamentarians.

Image 2 of 9Youth rock the vote. In Europe or North America, it might seem strange to have political parties dedicated to supporting the youth. But in Jordan, 70 percent of the population is under 30, facing unemployment of up to 27 percent. With those figures, some are calling for reducing the minimum age for parliamentarians.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

3

After years of self-imposed political exile, Jordan’s Islamists will join this year’s election. Since Jordan’s branch severed ties with the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood, the re-organized Islamic Action Front are seeking a stronger role in parliament this year. Here, Atef Odeibat speaks at a Wasat al-Islami rally in Amman.

Image 3 of 9After years of self-imposed political exile, Jordan’s Islamists will join this year’s election. Since Jordan’s branch severed ties with the Cairo-based Muslim Brotherhood, the re-organized Islamic Action Front are seeking a stronger role in parliament this year. Here, Atef Odeibat speaks at a Wasat al-Islami rally in Amman.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

4

Corruption in politics usually brings to mind high-rolling Washington lobbyists and corporate donations. In Jordan, vote-buying tends to be on a smaller scale: a candidate might offer to pay off a family’s debt or to pay for a wedding party in exchange for support at the polls.

Image 4 of 9Corruption in politics usually brings to mind high-rolling Washington lobbyists and corporate donations. In Jordan, vote-buying tends to be on a smaller scale: a candidate might offer to pay off a family’s debt or to pay for a wedding party in exchange for support at the polls.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

5

Tribalism holds sway. Some 43 percent of candidates running for parliament do so based on tribal affiliation, while less than 10 percent identify with political parties. While voter turnout is high in rural areas, in Amman, it tends to be much lower. A recent poll revealed only 38 percent of Jordanians planned on voting.

Image 5 of 9Tribalism holds sway. Some 43 percent of candidates running for parliament do so based on tribal affiliation, while less than 10 percent identify with political parties. While voter turnout is high in rural areas, in Amman, it tends to be much lower. A recent poll revealed only 38 percent of Jordanians planned on voting.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

6

Jordan welcomed independent, international observers from the European Union, China, the Arab League, and others who monitor the electoral process and then present reports on their findings. They are particularly interested in seeing how the new election law, which abolished the one-person, one-vote system, will play out.

Image 6 of 9Jordan welcomed independent, international observers from the European Union, China, the Arab League, and others who monitor the electoral process and then present reports on their findings. They are particularly interested in seeing how the new election law, which abolished the one-person, one-vote system, will play out.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

7

Women’s participation. There are 258 women across the Kingdom running this year. The region with the highest participation of women running for office is in the northern Badia region, where 36 percent of candidates are women.

Image 7 of 9Women’s participation. There are 258 women across the Kingdom running this year. The region with the highest participation of women running for office is in the northern Badia region, where 36 percent of candidates are women.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

8

Training electoral workers on how to man a polling station, tabulate results, and send them to Amman, from across Jordan’s 12 governorates is no small task. There are new rules, plus workers have to make sure rural voters know how to get to their polling station on election day.

Image 8 of 9Training electoral workers on how to man a polling station, tabulate results, and send them to Amman, from across Jordan’s 12 governorates is no small task. There are new rules, plus workers have to make sure rural voters know how to get to their polling station on election day.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

9

The new electoral law reduced the number of seats in parliament, employing a multi-member “list” system, rather than the unpopular one-person, one-vote system. The new law has left some confused about how it actually works - 58 percent of voters said they were “not at all” aware of the law’s content in a recent poll.

Image 9 of 9The new electoral law reduced the number of seats in parliament, employing a multi-member “list” system, rather than the unpopular one-person, one-vote system. The new law has left some confused about how it actually works - 58 percent of voters said they were “not at all” aware of the law’s content in a recent poll.

(Source: Lindsey Leger)

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Lindsey Leger

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