Municipal elections slated to be held on time, so far

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A man casts his ballot in municipal elections in the capital Amman in 2017. (File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Minister of State for Media Affairs and government spokesperson Faisal Al-Shboul said that the government is committed to applying Defense Order 35 to all facilities, but that it is not contemplating taking new measures in view of the current rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. اضافة اعلان

Shboul told Jordan News that the decision to postpone governorate councils, municipal councils, and Greater Amman Municipality Council elections is the remit of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), and has nothing to do with the government, adding that the Ministry of Local Administration announced that the elections will be held according to plan, but then, the entire matter is in responsibility of the IEC.

On a different note, Shboul said that it is too early to talk about decisions that could be taken during the holy month of Ramadan, as all decisions will be based on the epidemiological situation at the time.

IEC official spokesman Mohammad Rawashdeh told Jordan News that, so far, the plan is to hold elections on time, adding that “we hope that the current wave of infections subsides before the election date, slated for March 22, “so that we do not have to postpone it. However, we are monitoring carefully the epidemiological situation in Jordan, and if the situation is not as good as we wish, we might resort to postponing the elections”.

Rawashdeh said that if elections are held on time, “we will apply safety measures strictly, so that citizens can exercise their electoral right safely”.

Rawashdeh also said that the commission is responsible for developments within the polling centers only; “what happens outside is not the commission’s responsibility”.

Najwa Khoury, member of the National Committee for Epidemiology, told Jordan News that postponing the elections for a month or two may be a good thing.

With the approach of the spring and summer, the number of COVID-19 cases begins to decline, she said, adding that cases are high today because of the ability of new mutants to spread faster.

Khoury said that the epidemiological situation is still under control, despite the high number of cases, and that “the medical authorities are still able to deal with cases”, and stressed the importance of adhering to safety measures so that the number of cases of infection or death does not increase till “we become unable to deal with the pandemic”.

Mohammad Tarawneh, a pulmonary and respiratory diseases specialist, told Jordan News that the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases was expected, especially in the presence of the Omicron mutant, which is known to be spread rapidly.

Despite this, hospital admissions are still reasonable and under control, he said, adding: “This is a good thing that must be preserved, especially since the increase in the number of patients in hospitals or of deaths leads to the collapse of the health sector, which is a thing that we do not want to happen.”

Under the current circumstances, said Tarawneh, “the elections should be postponed, especially since gathering inside and outside polling centers increases the chance of the virus spreading.”

Tarawneh also stressed the importance of adhering to safety measures, such as wearing masks, sanitizing and maintaining physical distancing, “and, above all, taking the vaccines, and especially the third dose, which will contribute to raising the immunity.”

The IEC Board of Commissioners published on Tuesday the final voter lists for the provincial councils, municipal councils, and Amman Municipality Council 2022 elections.

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