Islamists Decline in Jordanian Elections

(Jordan Times) Alia Shukri Hamzeh and Dina Al Wakeel - Voting results for the Jordanian Parliament announced on Wednesday revealed that tribal and independent figures won around two-thirds of the 110 seats. The Islamic Action Front (IAF) garnered 17 seats, winning 10.7% of the total vote, an outcome below IAF's expectations. IAF candidates who ran in Amman's six districts won by large margins. Pan-Arabist and Baathist candidates failed to win election, while the leftist Democratic Party clinched two seats. Columnist Jamil Nimri noted that the IAF's representation in Parliament was much lower than in 1993 when the Islamists garnered 20% of the seats. In 1989 the front, along with allies, had won nearly half the seats in the legislature. See also Jordanian Islamists Seek to Win Palestinian Vote - Suleiman al-Khalidi Islamist candidate Mohammad Aqel, who contested Jordan's parliamentary elections on Tuesday, believes the suicide bombers who blow up Israelis are national heroes. At a campaign rally in the sprawling Baqaa camp, home to over 140,000 Palestinians, crowds chanted "On to Jihad...O lovers of martyrdom," as masked men paraded with dummy explosives strapped to their belts, emulating Hamas militants. Such scenes alarm the Jordanian government, which views the first elections in King Abdullah's five-year reign as a test of the monarch's pro-Western democratic credentials. Jordan's electoral system favors staunchly tribal constituencies over the largely Palestinian cities, which are Islamic strongholds and highly politicized. (Reuters)

2003-06-19 00:00:00

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