Dubai: Official results of the Jordanian parliamentary elections announced on Wednesday carried no surprises.
Pro-government candidates swept almost every seat in the parliament. The turnout was within researcher's expectations, and higher than government anticipated — particularly amid calls for a boycott of the main opposition parties.
The performance of the new parliament is still yet to be judged, experts say.
According to official results announced yesterday, the turnout was 52.9 per cent.
"This is not a low percentage," commented Walid Al Khatib, head of the public opinion survey unit at the Jordanian Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan University. He added that all prior polls were anticipating similar turnout figures.
"Even the government felt optimistic with the percentage, as it was expecting a lower percentage with the stay away calls and the boycott of the main opposition party," and other reasons related to the objections of big numbers of voters on their constituencies, he told Gulf News.
Prime Minister Samir Rifai said the turnout showed that "the boycott did not have an impact on voting."
Jordan's main opposition party, the Islamic Action Front, boycotted the elections in protest to the election law and what they describe as a lack of government measures to guarantees problem-free elections.
"The government has announced a 53 per cent turnout but in my opinion the actual turnout did not exceed 30 per cent," IAF leader Hamzah Mansour told AFP.
"The new lower house will not be better this time as vote-buying and fraud played a major role in the election."
However, Al Khatib strongly believes the process was free from any government intervention as there were many Jordanian and international observers.