Voting for the parliamentary elections in Jordan started across the Kingdom at 7 AM Tuesday and will continue until 7 PM, with a total of 490,240 Jordanians having voted by noon, Jordan Times reported. The number of eligible voters stands at 4,130,145, according to the Independent Election Commission (IEC).
The Jordanian elections were announced after parliament was dissolved by King Abdullah II on May 29, with the King appointing Hani Al-Mulki as interim Prime Minister following the resignation of Abdullah Ensour.
These elections are the first since 1989 to be held primarily under a form of proportional representation, following electoral reforms announced in 2015. Earlier elections were held under the “one-man one-vote” system, designed to curb the power of Islamic political parties after they obtained 22 seats out of 80 in 1989. The Tuesday vote is monitored by dozens of international observers. The 2015 reforms have led to opposition parties agreeing to participate in this election, including the Islamic Action Front, which boycotted multiple previous elections. According to reports, in order to reduce the IAF influence in these elections the Jordanian government has fomented splits in the Muslim Brotherhood, complete with the seizure of Muslim Brotherhood properties and the defection of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood figures to form a new, supposedly more moderate party.
The elected lower house of Jordan’s parliament is constrained by an upper house of equal legislative responsibility whose members are chosen by the King. While the lower house can initiate legislation, it must then be approved by the senate and the King. If the King returns the law unapproved, it must gain approval from two-thirds of both the house and the senate to go into effect. The King appoints a Prime Minister and Cabinet from the lower house, but he is not required to consult parliament on his choice or choose the leader of the largest party for PM. Cabinet reshuffling by the King within a single parliament are frequent, used to reward loyal MPs and to counter public dissent, as the King can shift blame for issues to the previous Cabinet. The King can dissolve parliament before the end of its term if he desires early elections, or suspend parliament entirely and rule by decree, which has been done twice in the 21st century, from 2001–2003 and 2009–2010.
Maj. Gen. Atef Saudi, Director of Jordan’s Public Security Department (PSD), said that no major security incidents were reported so far.JNi.Media