Voter in Jordan will head to the polls today for an historic election – for the first time the politicians they elect will be able to choose their own Prime Minister rather than accepting the nomination of the King. The legitimacy of the elections is being challenged, however, and the country’s main Islamist party has urged voters to boycott the vote.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest Islamist party in Jordon, called a boycott of this year’s election over complaints of gerrymandering. Rural and tribal constituencies, which are traditional strong supporters of the establishment, get a larger weighting than poor urban constituencies with high numbers of Palestinian refugees, which tend to vote for Islamist politicians.
“This is a sham election whose results will only erode the credibility of the future parliament,” said Zaki Bani Rusheid, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.
The Islamist boycott means that few of the politicians standing in today’s elections are associated with a major party, and many are standing based on tribal associations and personality politics rather than on a substantive political platform.