Voters’ disenchantment is reason for low election turnout

election elections
A man casts his local election ballot in Amman on March 22, 2022. (Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Independent Election Commission (IEC) spokesperson Mohammad Al-Rawashdeh said that 1,363,213 people voted in the elections that took place on Tuesday; the voter turnout rate was 29.64 percent of the 4,599,602 eligible voters registered on the final voter lists. اضافة اعلان

Voter turnout in Amman stood at 14.75 percent, while in Zarqa it reached 16.96 percent.

“With regard to the low voter turnout in Amman and Zarqa, we at IEC, do not have specific reasons, but the diverse economic, industrial, and agricultural activity in the two governorates, and the relative availability of services and infrastructure there make local and municipal elections less of a priority, whereas peripheral governorates need representative councils and vote heavily in search of development services,” said Rawashdeh.

Al-Hayat Center for Civil Society Development (Rased) said that 75 candidates became mayors for the first time, 15 were re-elected for the first time, and 10 for the second time.

According to the center, in the Karak governorate nine out of the 10 mayors were elected for the first time, Irbid governorate has 15 new mayors, Mafraq 14, and in Zarqa governorate five of the seven former mayors retained on their position.

Ten party members made it to the position of mayor as well: five from the National Coalition Party (formerly Zamzam and the Islamic Center Party), four from the National Charter Party, and one, in Ramtha, from the Jordanian National Youth Party.

Results also showed that 68 women became members of municipal councils, provincial councils, and the Amman Municipality Council, outside the quota, winning 27 percent of the total allocated seats.

Rased Director General Amer Bani Amer said that this year’s municipal and provincial council elections witnessed the highest number of voters in the history of Jordan’s local elections.

According to political analyst Amer Al-Sabaileh, “the low voter participation in Amman and Zarqa is due to several reasons, the most important being the nature of these elections, which is primarily tribal, especially in the governorates; another is that local councils do not meet the demands of citizens, so people were reluctant to vote”.

He stressed that citizens’ “lack of confidence and the feeling that they are outside the political process resulted in a reluctance to participate in the electoral process, and since this is not consistent with the demands of the government, it is a form of punishing the political system at no cost”.

Meanwhile, Senator Talal Al-Shorafat said that the low voter turnout in Amman and Zarqa “is linked to tribal competition”, that in Amman, people are preoccupied with economic issues, and that a large percentage of Jordanians living abroad could not participate.

He added that the government is working to strengthen citizens’ trust “through developing the political system and administrative reforms”, which will eventually lead to parliamentary governments and to more participation in the political and decision-making processes.

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