Jordanians vote as Muslim Brotherhood stays away

Thu, Jan 24, 2013, 00:00

Jordanians voted in their first parliamentary election since the Arab uprisings yesterday without the participation of the main Islamist party, which is demanding an end to corruption.

The Muslim Brotherhood says the system is rigged to sideline large towns and cities, where it is strongest, in favour of rural tribal areas where conservative, pro-government political forces are entrenched.

Turnout was 56.5 per cent when polls closed after voting had been extended for an extra hour, officials said. Islamists accused the authorities of trying to inflate a low turnout.

The Brotherhood’s absence has reduced the election to a contest between tribal leaders, establishment figures and businessmen, with just a few of the 1,500 candidates running for recognised parties. Allegations of vote-buying are rife.

Jordan, a US-backed monarchy, has seen large protests against corruption that were critical of King Abdullah, but not on the scale of those that toppled rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and led to civil wars in Libya and Syria. – (Reuters)