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Islamists Cry Foul as Pro-Govt MPs Sweep Jordan Vote | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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AMMAN (AFP) – Pro-government candidates were on course to sweep Jordan’s election, initial results showed on Wednesday, but the Islamists charged the vote was rigged and doubted the high turnout figure.

Only one of seven Islamist candidates who registered as independents, defying a boycott by the opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), won a seat in the lower house of parliament in Tuesday’s poll.

Ahmad Qudah was elected in Ajlun, north of the capital, with more than 6,000 votes.

Violence marred the election day, with a 25-year-old man shot dead and two others wounded in clashes between rival supporters in the southern city of Karak, police said.

Clashes also broke out in different parts of the kingdom, including Amman.

The new lower house, with a strong showing by tribal-linked candidates, will have 13 women MPs. Reem Badran, an economist and daughter of a former premier, won a seat outside a quota system which reserves 12 seats for women.

Interior Minister Nayef Qadai was due to announce the official results at midday (1000 GMT).

“The government has announced a 53-percent turnout but in my opinion the actual turnout did not exceed 30 percent,” IAF leader Hamzah Mansur told AFP.

“The new lower house will not be better this time as vote-buying and fraud played a major role in the election.”

The IAF boycotted the vote in protest at constituency boundaries set under a new electoral law adopted in May.

It says these over-represent rural areas considered loyal to the government at the expense of urban areas regarded as Islamist strongholds. The IAF says the law has returned Jordan to a previous controversial voting system.

But Prime Minister Samir Rifai said the turnout showed that “the boycott did not have an impact on voting.”

Around 2.5 million Jordanians were eligible to vote, with 763 candidates vying for a four-year term in the 120-seat lower house of parliament.