Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood claim 'major victory' in local elections

Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood claim 'major victory' in local elections
The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies claimed a 'major victory' in Jordan's provincial and municipal elections, which concluded late on Tuesday.
2 min read
16 August, 2017
More than 1.3 million people voted on Tuesday [AFP]
A Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition announced a "major victory" in Jordan's local elections on Tuesday, after ending a ten-year boycott of the municipal elections.

The National Alliance for Reform won five of 12 municipal seats in the capital Amman, according to Murad al-Adayla, head of the election panel at the Islamic Action Front (IAF) - the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.

"At the level of local councils, the coalition won 41 seats, out of 88 candidates," Adayla said.

The coalition also won 25 of 48 seats contested for in the country's first ever provincial council elections, putting the total number of seats won by the alliance at 71.

Over 6,000 Jordanian candidates vied for 1,833 seats on 100 city and town councils and 12 new governorate (provincial) councils, which will have the decisive input on investments in infrastructure and other projects of regional concern.

"Decisions on major developmental projects are now in their (governorate) hands and they are the ones who will set the priorities, not the ministries in the capital," a senior government official told Reuters.

More than 1.3 million people voted on Tuesday - accounting to only 31 percent of those eligible to vote.

Critics blame the low turnout on voter apathy, particularly in the capital Amman, where many remain sceptical that the government will deliver on promises of democratic reform.

"Elections are a chance for change and shaping the future in democratic countries but, in the presence of authoritarianism, elections just reproduce past woes and existing suffering," said Zaki Bani Rusheid, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Reuters.

The Brotherhood is Jordan's largest opposition party but its activities are restricted by state authorities in the kingdom.

King Abdullah's security forces have kept a tight grip on public dissent, regularly detaining peaceful rights activists who criticise the country's ruling elite.