Disagreements over Jordan's New Electoral Law

July 23, 2012, midnight

As the newly established Independent Electoral Commission in Jordan started preparations for elections expected before the end of 2012, several opposition parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood and the National Front for Reform, indicated that they intend to boycott these elections. The parties claim that the 2012 election law, including the latest amendments to that law which were made by Parliament upon request of King ABDULLAH II, do not go far enough with reforms. The new election law introduces a parallel electoral system for the 150 seat parliament. Voters will elect candidates for 108 seats in 45 single and multi-member districts, with each voter having only one vote irrespective of the number of seats in the district. Fifteen additional seats are reserved for women candidates in these districts who did not win seats outright. Last week both houses of parliament approved an amendment to the new law that increased the number of seats allocated to a single national list proportional representation district from 17 to 27. The Brotherhood claimed that these reforms did not meet their demands of 50 percent of seats in parliament being elected on a proportional representation basis, and that the one vote in multimember district system for majoritarian seats is ended. King ABDULLAH II approved the amendments to the election law by royal decree on July 23. No election date has yet been set, but ABDULLAH II indicated that he wishes to see elections before the end of the year.

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