How Jordan’s Loyalists Stayed in Charge

Jordan held an election last Wednesday that was hailed by the regime as an important step on the path to reform. Turnout reached 56 percent despite boycotts by much of the opposition, including the Islamic Action Front and many reformists. People voted in the hope that this election with a modified electoral law would bring change. I held many of the same hopes myself, but it is clear that despite everything, for now the loyalists remain firmly in charge. How did this happen?

Political power is still centralized among a small clique of insiders with ties to the regime. The new Chief of the Royal Court is former Prime Minister Fayez Tarawneh, who was appointed as PM following the King’s dismissal of Awn Khasawneh. The new PM has not been announced yet, but it should be noted that the King has said he will consult with parliamentary blocs, and one of the largest blocs is the National Current Party, which is headed by former Speaker Abdul Hadi al-Majali, who a few years ago spoke against electoral reform, although he appears to have changed his position during the most recent election campaign. Still, if someone was on record opposing even the modest electoral reforms during the most recent parliament, then it is unlikely that they will be supportive of further reform in the future, except perhaps to the degree that they consider it to be a necessity.

How did this situation come about? Former Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher points out that even after the reform passed last year, the current electoral law remains inadequate and means parliament cannot exercise oversight of the executive branch. He addresses three issues in his article that are crucial to the reform process: (1) electoral reform, including a gradual increase in the number of seats allocated to party lists; (2) prosecuting and preventing corruption; and (3) economic reform, addressing the current economic crisis as well as unemployment, inequality, and Jordan’s continued dependence on outside aid.

Right now, it seems as though many loyalists have examined the results exactly the wrong way. 56 percent of registered voters did not turn out to vote because they wanted the way that Jordan is governed to remain the same. They did so, I think, in the hope that this time would be the start on the process of change. However, with many of those who opposed even modest reforms in a strong position, it is easy to be skeptical of whether the new parliament will produce meaningful reforms.

Jordan’s Parliamentary Election Results at a Glance

NOTE: This post is a work in progress, check back for updates as more information about the election and the candidates becomes available.

The 2013 Jordanian Parliamentary Election was held on January 23, 2013. Jordanian voters elected 150 MPs to the House of Deputies, which is the Lower House of the Jordanian Parliament. The Senate, the Upper House, consists of 60 members who are appointed by the King.

Summary

The preliminary results of the election are in. Out of 150 seats, 123 of them were won by loyalists and 37 were won by Islamists and other critics of the regime.

The 2013 Parliamentary Election was held under an electoral law passed in 2012 which increased the number of seats from 120 to 150. In this election, Jordanians cast two votes – one for the candidate in their district and one for a party list. The seats are distributed as follows:

  • 27 seats are elected nationwide via proportional representation from party lists.
  • 108 of the seats are elected from district seats, including 9 district seats reserved for Christian candidates, and 3 for Circassian and Chechen candidates. There are also 9 seats reserved for bedouin candidates.
  • 15 seats are reserved for women under a quota system

For a more in-depth description of the electoral procedures that were used in the most recent election, check out my previous post that discusses the topic entitled “Jordan’s 2013 Parliamentary Elections at a Glance.

The results of the 2013 Parliamentary Elections will be updated below as they become available.

Party List Seats (27 seats) – UPDATED

There are a total of 27 seats that are allocated to party lists. As mentioned above, Jordanians will cast two votes, one of which is for the party list seats and the other is for the district seats. There are a total of 61 party lists competing for these seats and the lists each have between nine and twenty-seven candidates.

The following is a summary of the results of the party list seats:

Islamic Centrist – 3 seats – 198,698 votes (9.719%)
  1. Mohammad al-Hajj
  2. Zakariyah Al Shaikh
  3. Mustafa Al Amawi)
Stronger Jordan – 2 seats – 98,898 (8.453%)
  1. Rula al-Huroub
  2. Munir Zawaydeh
Nation – 2 seats – 94,301 (8.061%)
  1. Atef al-Tarawneh
  2. Khamis Attiyeh
National Union – 2 seats – 65,720 (5.618%)
  1. Mohammad al-Khushman
  2. Abdul Majid al-Aqtash
National Current – 1 seat – 49,012 (4.189%)
  1. Abdul Hadi al-Majali
Salvation – 1 seat – 37,005 (3.163%)
  1. Ahmed Rqeibat
Labor and Trade – 1 seat – 36,459 (3.116%)
  1. Mazen al-Jawazneh
Cooperation – 1 seat – 35,206 (3.009%)
  1. Mejhim al-Sqour
Dignity – 1 seat – 32,681 (2.852%)
  1. Ali al-Azazmeh
United Front – 1 seat – 32,681 (2.793%)
  1. Amjad al-Majali
National Unity – 1 seat – 31,265 (2.672%)
  1. Mohammad al-Zboun
Al-Binaa’ – 1 seat – 31,100 (2.658%)
  1. Hassan Obeidat
The People – 1 seat – 28,874 (2.468%)
  1. Mustafa Shneikat
Ahl al-Himma – 1 seat – 23,821 (2.036%)
  1. Ra’ed al-Khalayieh
Free Voice – 1 seat – 23,077 (1.973%)
  1. Faisal al-A’war
Voice of the Nation – 1 seat – 20,276 (1.733%)
  1. Haitham Abbadi
National Action – 1 seat – 19,788 (1.691%)
  1. Abdul Hadi Maharmeh
Noble Jerusalem – 1 seat – 17,823 (1.523%)
  1. Mohammad Jabil al-Omar
Al-Bayyan – 1 seat – 16,650 (1.423%)
  1. Hamzeh Khaza’aleh
Dawn – 1 seat – 16,180 (1.383%)
  1. Sa’ad al-Balawi
National Accord Youth Bloc – 1 seat – 14,658 (1.253%)
  1. Mu’taz Abu Rumman
Citizenship – 1 seat – 14,658 (1.253%)
  1. Hazem Qashou

District Seats (108 seats)

These seats are elected from 45 electoral districts, which elect either a single MP or multiple MPs. Districts can vary widely in terms of the number of MPs they elect to parliament, and in terms of their population.

A total of 12 district seats are reserved for minority candidates (9 for Christians, 3 for Circassian/Chechen candidates), and the candidates elected to these seats will be noted in parentheses next to the result. The 9 seats reserved for bedouin candidates are in separate districts, which will be listed below in a section entitled “Bedouin Districts.”

Amman (Capital, Central Jordan)

The Amman governorate elects 25 MPs from seven districts. This includes 22 Muslim MPs, 2 Circassian/Chechen MPs, and 1 Christian MP. The district seats reserved for minority candidates will be noted below in parentheses. The Amman governorate has a total population of approximately 2.4 million in the 2011 census, meaning each MP represents 96,000 residents.

1st DISTRICT

  1. Khalil Atiyeh – 19,399
  2. Mohammad Barayseh – 6,981
  3. Hayel Daaja – 3,305
  4. Ahmad Jaloudi – 3,080
  5. Talal Sharif – 2,814

2ND DISTRICT

  1. Raed Kouz – 6,347
  2. Mohammad Khalil Dawalmeh – 5,548
  3. Yihya Saud – 5,855
  4. Mohammad Mahsieri – 5,162
  5. Yousef Qorneh – 4,608

3rd DISTRICT

  1. Amjad Maslamani – 4,124
  2. Amer Bashir – 3,993
  3. Abdul Rahim Biqaai – 3,918
  4. Ahmed Safadi – 3,352
  5. Atef Qaawar – 3,304 (Christian seat)

4th DISTRICT

  1. Ahmad Hmeisat – 8,942
  2. Kheirallah Abu Saalik – 7,043
  3. Assaf Shawabkah – 5,336

5th DISTRICT

  1. Mariam Lozi – 3,631
  2. Mousa Abu Sweilem – 3,610
  3. Tamer Bino – 2,220 (Circassian/Chechen)

6th DISTRICT

  1. Nasser Qaisi – 5,678
  2. Abdul Jalil Zyoud – 5,390
  3. Kheir Eddin Hakouz – 3,296

7th DISTRICT

  1. Adnan Ajarmeh – 5,359

Balqaa (Central)

1st DISTRICT

  1. Khaled Hiari – 7,251
  2. Nidal Hiari – 4,170
  3. Mohammad Abbadi – 4,001
  4. Mahmoud Kharabsheh – 3,951
  5. Bassam Manasir – 3,873
  6. Dirar Daoud – 4,228 (Christian seat)
  7. Jamal Gammoh – 3,494 (Christian seat)

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Shadi Odwan – 4,868

3rd DISTRICT

  1. Mohammad Alaqmeh – 5,609

4th DISTRICT

  1.  Mustafa Yaghi – 7,691

Balqaa elects 10 MPs from four districts, including 8 Muslim MPs and 2 Christian MPs. The governorate has a total population of approximately 419,000, meaning that each MP represents about 41,900 residents.

Madaba (Central)

1st DISTRICT

  1. Adnan Abu Rukbeh – 5,436
  2. Zaid Shawabkah – 4,375
  3. Mustafa Hamarneh – 1,857 (Christian seat)

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Ali Sneid (5,630)

Madaba elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, including 3 Muslim seats and 1 Christian seat. The governorate has a population of approximately 156,000 residents, with each MP representing approximately 39,000 residents.

Zarqa (Central)

1ST DISTRICT

  1. Samir Orabi – 4,506
  2. Karim Awadat – 3,833
  3. Yousef Abu Huweidi – 3,799
  4. Mirza Bollad – by default (Circassian/Chechen)
  5. Tareq Khouri – 4,718 (Christian)

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Mohammad Yousef Dawaimeh – 5,557
  2. Ali Khalaileh – 4,577
  3. Mousa Khalaileh – 3,115

3rd DISTRICT

  1. Wasfi Zyoud – 6,555

4th DISTRICT

  1. Mohammad Thahrawi – 6,286
  2. Qusai Dmeisi – 5,088

Zarqa elects 11 MPs from four districts, including 9 Muslim MPs, 1 Christian MP, and 1 Circassian/Chechen MP. The governorate has a total population of approximately 931,000, meaning that each MP represents approximately 85,000 residents.

Aljoun (North)

1st DISTRICT

  1. Kamal Zghoul – 7,452
  2. Ali Bani Ata – 6,430
  3. Rida Haddad – 1,500 (Christian seat)

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Mohammad Freihat – 4,908

Aljoun elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, including 3 Muslim seats and 1 Christian seat. The governorate has a total population of 144,000 residents, with each MP representing approximately 36,000 residents.

Irbid (North)- UPDATED

Irbid elects 17 MPs from nine electoral districts, including 16 Muslim MPs and one Christian MP. The governorate has a total population of approximately 1.1 million, with each MP representing approximately 69,000 residents.

Irbid elects a total of 17 MPs, including 16 Muslim MPs and one Christian MP. The governorate has a total of 487,129 registered voters, and each MP represents on average 28,654 voters. A total of 135 candidates, including 10 women, competed in this election for these seats.

Of the 17 MPs elected, 5 were incumbent MPs who served in the previous parliament elected in 2010, and 3 more were candidates who did well in the 2010 elections but were not elected.

1st DISTRICT (qasba region)

  1. Samir Oweis (8,392 votes)
  2. Salim Batayneh (6,552)
  3. Mohammad Radaideh (6,112) – Incumbent
  4. Qassim Bani Hani (6,041)
  5. Abdul Munim Odat (4,497)

This district elects five MPs. There are a total of 160,314 registered voters, and a ratio of 32,062 voters per MP. A total of 25 candidates competed in this district in the January 23rd parliamentary election.

One of the five MPs elected was elected from the same district during the previous parliament elected in 2010. In that election, MP Mohammad Radaideh received 4,908 votes in the 2nd virtual district, compared to 6,112 in this election. The “virtual districts” required voters to choose one of several different contests held in the same district regardless of their location, and were abolished with the 2012 electoral reform.

2nd District (Bani Abeid)

  1. Mohammad Khasawneh (4,049)
  2. Husni Sheyab (3,958) – Incumbent
  3. Jamil Nimri (2,799) (Christian seat) – Incumbent

This district elects 3 MPs – 2 Muslim, 1 Christian. 49,787 registered voters (16,595 voters per MP). 15 candidates, including 5 Christian candidates competing for the Christian quota seat.

Incumbent MP Husni Sheyab was reelected with 3,958 votes, compared to the 6,167 votes he received in the 2nd virtual district in 2010. Incumbent Christian MP Jalil Nimri, who is also a prominent journalist, was also reelected, receiving 2,799 votes compared to 2,215 votes in 2010.

3rd District (Northern Mazar)

  1. Mohammad Sharman (3,407)

Elects 1 MP. 24,033 registered voters (24,033 voters per MP). 10 candidates, including 2 women.

4th District (Ramtha)

  1. Abdul Karim Darabseh (12,468)
  2. Fawaz Zu’bi (9,763) – Incumbent

Elects 2 MPs. 48,656 registered voters (24,328 voters per MP). 5 candidates.

Incumbent MP Fawaz Zu’bi was reelected with a vote total comparable to the number of votes he received in 2010 (9,763 this time compared to 9,782 in 2010 where he contested the 1st virtual district).

5th District (Bani Kenanah)

  1. Abdullah Obeidat (5,042)
  2. Bassel Malkawi (3,978)

Elects 2 MPs. 44,186 registered voters (22,093 voters per MP). 12 candidates, including 1 woman.

Abdullah Obeidat was elected after unsuccessfully contesting the same district in 2010. In that election he received 3,084 votes in the 2nd virtual district, in which he came in second to Yahya Obeidat.

6th District (Koura)

  1. Yassin Bani Yassin (8,111)

Elects 1 MP. 44,988 registered voters (44,988 voters per MP). 8 candidates, including 1 woman.

Yassin Bani Yassin was elected MP, receiving 8,111 votes, a strong showing compared to 2010 when he contested the same seat and received 3,440 votes, coming in second.

7th District (Northern jordan valley)

  1. Khaled Bakkar (11,624)

Elects 1 MP. 48,701 registered voters (48,701 voters per MP). 6 candidates, including 1 woman.

Khaled Bakkar was elected MP after receiving 11,624 votes, a total that is comparable to his showing in 2010 when he received 11,747 votes, but came in second.

8th District (Taybeh)

  1. Bassel Alawneh (6,163)

Elects 1 MP. 17,744 registered voters (17,744 voters per MP). 5 candidates.

9th District (Wasatiyeh)

  1. Mahmoud Mheidat (3,905)

Elects 1 MP. 13,251 registered voters (13,251 voters per MP). 6 candidates, including 1 woman.

Jerash (North) – UPDATED

1st DISTRICT (all of jerash)

  1. Abdul Karim Darabseh – 5,324 (10.22%)
  2. Mefleh Ruheimi – 4,571 (8.78%) – Incumbent
  3. Mohammed Hdeib – 4,189 (8.04%)
  4. Wafaa Bani Mustafa – 3,989 (7.66%) – Incumbent (Jerash women’s quota seat winner in 2010)

Turnout: 52,081 (72.07%) – Preliminary figure

Jerash elects 4 MPs from a single electoral district, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a total of 188,000 residents, and 72,265 registered voters, meaning that each MP represents approximately 47,000 residents, or about 18,066 voters. A total of 24 candidates competed in Jerash governorate, including 3 women.

The strong performance of independent Islamist Wafaa Bani Mustafa is noteworthy, as she increased her support dramatically. In 2010, she received 1,580 votes and was elected to the women’s quota seat for Jerash, while this election she received 3,989 votes (7.66% overall) and was elected outright. This means Jerash governorate will be represented by two women – Wafaa Bani Mustafa as well as women’s quota seat winner Najah Azzah, who received 1,802 votes (3.46% overall).

The leading vote-getter was Abdullah Khawaldeh, who received 5,324 votes (10.22% overall). In 2010, he finished second in the third virtual district to Mefleh Ruheimi (an incumbent MP who was reelected in 2nd place). In this election, both were elected.

Mafraq (North)

1ST DISTRICT (All of mafraq except portion within northern bedouin district)

  1. Abdul Karim Dughmi – 6,192
  2. Melfeh Khazalleh – 4,092
  3. Nayef Khazalleh – 3,834
  4. Mohammad Shdeifat – 3,580

Mafraq elects 4 MPs from one electoral district, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a population of approximately 179,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 45,000 residents.

It should be noted that this figure does not include the 3 Bedouin seats in the Northern Bedouin District, which are elected separately, although the district is located within this governorate. If these are included then the total number of seats from this governorate would increase to 7, but to avoid double counting these seats will be outlined below.

Aqaba (South) – UPDATED

1ST DISTRICT (ALL OF aqaba except the portion within southern bedouin district)

  1. Mohammad al-Badri – 3,411
  2. Mohammad Riyati – 2,531

Aqaba elects 2 MPs from a single electoral district, both of which are Muslim seats. The Aqaba governorate has a population of approximately 136,000, but not all of the governorate is located within the electoral district, as part of it is within the Southern Badia (Bedouin) District. The portion that is within the Aqaba electoral district has 31,641 registered voters, with each MP representing 15,731 voters. A total of 21 candidates competed in Aqaba, including 5 women.

In this election, the top vote-getter was Mohammad al-Badri, while the second MP elected was Mohammad Riyati, who came in second place in the second virtual district in 2010. In that election, he received 2,729 votes, while in this election his total was actually lower, as he received 2,531, but this was sufficient for him to be elected this time.

Karak (South)

1st DISTRICT

  1. Mwafaq Dmour – 3,475
  2. Taha Shorafa – 2,809
  3. Faris Halaseh – 1,365 (Christian seat)

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Eteiwi Majali – 3,034
  2. Raed Hijazin – 1,137 (Christian seat)

3rd DISTRICT

  1. Bassam Btoush – 3,622
  2. Madallah Tarawneh – 3,215

4th DISTRICT

  1. Mahmoud Hweimi – 4,795

5th DISTRICT

  1. Mustafa Rawashdeh – 2,280

6th DISTRICT

  1. Nayef Leimoun – 2,897

Karak elects 10 MPs from six districts, including 8 Muslim MPs and 2 Christian MPs. The governorate has a total population of approximately 244,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 24,400 residents.

Maan (South)

1ST DISTRICT

  1. Amjad al-Khattab – 3,563
  2. Awad Kreishan – 2,528

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Bader Toura – 1,648

3rd DISTRICT

  1. Adnan Farajat – 3,948

Maan elects 4 MPs from three districts, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a total population of approximately 119,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 30,000 residents.

Tafila (South)

1ST DISTRICT

  1. Ibrahim Shahahdeh – 3,005
  2. Ibrahim Eteiwi – 2,562
  3. Mohammad Qatatsheh – 2,196

2nd DISTRICT

  1. Mohammad Saudi – 2,229

Tafila elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a population of approximately 88,000, with each MP representing approximatley 22,000 residents.

Bedouin Seats

There are a total of 9 seats reserved for Bedouin, which are divided into three Bedouin constituencies: Northern Bedouin, Central Bedouin, and Southern Bedouin. Each of these constituencies elects 3 MPs. The Northern Bedouin District is located within Mafraq governorate. The Central Bedouin district consists of parts of Amman governorate in the fourth electoral district. The Southern Bedouin District consists of parts of Aqaba and Maan governorates.

It is important to note that Bedouin districts are different from those reserved for the Christian or Circassian minorities, as only members of families assigned to each bedouin district by the electoral law are allowed to vote there (but cannot vote or run for office anywhere else in Jordan).

northern badia district (bedouin)

  1. Habes Shabeeb – 8,237 (18.53%) – Incumbent
  2. Saad Hayel Srour – 6,554 (14.74%)
  3. Deifallah Bani Khaled – 6,111 (13.74%)

Turnout: 44,460 (75.53%) – Preliminary figure

The Northern Badia (Bedouin) District elects 3 MPs. The district has a total of 58,867 registered voters, with each MP representing a total of 19,622 voters. A total of 17 candidates competed in the Northern Badia District, including 6 women.

central BADIA DISTRICT (BEDOUIN)

  1. Sleiman Zaben – 5,371 (17.04%)
  2. Thamer Fayez – 4,419 (14.02%)
  3. Hadithah Khreisha – 4,119 (13.07%) – Incumbent

Turnout: 31,516 (75.42%) – Preliminary figure

The Central Badia (Bedouin) District elects 3 MPs. The district has a total of 41,790 registered voters, with each MP representing a total of 13,930 voters. A total of 16 candidates competed in the Northern Badia District, including 6 women.

Incumbent MP Hadithah Kkreisha was reelected, winning third place. First place was earned by Sleiman Zaben, who came in second place in the 1st virtual district in the 2010 parliamentary elections.

southern BADIA DISTRICT (BEDOUIN)

  1. Mohammad Hajaya – 4,065
  2. Saad Zawaideh – 3,101
  3. Deifallah Saeedin – 2,988

The Southern Badia (Bedouin) District elects 3 MPs.

Women’s Quota Seats (15 seats, including 3 reserved for Bedouin Women)

This election there are a total of 15 seats reserved for female candidates, including 3 that are reserved for Bedouin women. Women running for parliament do not campaign for these seats specifically, as they instead run in their districts. Each of the 12 governorates as well as each of the 3 bedouin districts is assigned one female quota seat. In each governorate, the female candidate who receives the highest proportion of the vote in their district without being elected outright is awarded the female quota seat for that governorate.

The women’s quota candidates elected from each of the twelve governorates and the three bedouin districts are listed below:

Governorates

  • Amman: Na’ayim Ajarmeh 1,525 (8.53%)
  • Irbid – Fatimah Abu Attah 4,102 (13.15%)
  • Balqaa – Amneh Gharaghir 2,446 (11.73%)
  • Karak – Hamdiyyah Qwaider Hamaydeh 1,187 (17.33%)
  • Ma’an – Faten Khleifat 1,357 (14.30%)
  • Mafraq – Reem Abu Dalbouh 2,622
  • Tafileh – Insaaf Khawaldeh 1,056 (12.28%)
  • Zarqa – Rudaynah al-Atti 3,123 (8.10%)
  • Madaba – Falak Jama’ani 2,999 (20.06%)
  • Jerash – Najah al-Azzeh 1,802 (3.46%)
  • Ajloun – Khuloud Khatatbeh 1,241 (9.39%)
  • Aqaba – Tamam Riyati 1,873

Bedouin Districts

  • Northern Badia (Bedouin Area) – Myassar Sardiyyah 2,223 (5.0%)
  • Central Badia – Hind al-Fayez 873 (2.77%)
  • Southern Badia – Shaha Abu Shusheh 1,852 (3.71%)

Parliamentary Election Turnout: An Initial Reaction

The much-awaited parliamentary elections are over. The Independent Electoral Commission has estimated the turnout at 1.28 million voters, which is approximately 56 percent of Jordan’s approximately 2.3 million registered voters. The turnout of 56 percent was slightly higher than the 53 percent turnout in the most recent parliamentary elections in 2010.

Turnout has varied widely between regions, with the highest turnout reported in the bedouin districts, and the lowest turnout reported in Amman, Irbid, and Zarqa. These three governorates, which reported the lowest turnout are also the most underrepresented in the district seats in parliament, and this is likely not a coincidence. Amman has the largest ratio of residents to MPs in Jordan, with each MP representing 96,000 residents. Zarqa is the second most underrepresented governorate, with 85,000 residents per MP. The third most underrepresented governorate is Irbid, with 69,000 residents.

There is one aspect of the turnout that is worth looking into – within certain governorates the size of the individual districts can vary widely, and it should also be noted that many of the areas that have experienced protests are areas that are over represented in parliament. For example, Wasatiyeh, which witnessed the only fatality of a protester during the demonstrations following the fuel price increase, is located in the Ninth Irbid District. This district has one MP for 14,400 registered voters, compared to the Seventh District in Irbid which has one MP for 46,300 registered voters. It will be interesting to see if turnout is uniform across the Irbid governorate or if it is higher in the areas that have smaller ratios of MPs to voters.

As more results become available I will attempt to analyze their implications for events following the elections as the process of appointing a successor to Prime Minister Ensour begins.

الانتخابات البرلمانية: رد فعل مبدئي

قد و اخيراً انتهوا الانتخابات البرلمانية. وقدرت اللجنة الانتخابية المستقلة نسبة المشاركة 1.28 مليون ناخب، وهو ما يقرب من 56 في المئة من الناخبين المسجلين 2.3 مليون في الأردن.

وكان نسبة المشاركة 56 في المئة أعلى بقليل من نسبة المشاركة 53 بالمئة في الانتخابات البرلمانية الأخيرة في العام 2010.

و قد تختلف نسبة المشاركة على نطاق واسع بين المناطق وفقا لأعلى نسبة المشاركة في منطقة البادية وأقل نسبة المشاركة ذكرت في عمان، اربد، و الزرقاء.

هذه المحافظات الثلاث، حيث سجلت أقل نسبة مشاركة هي أيضا الأكثر تمثيلا ناقصا في منطقة المقاعد في البرلمان، وهذا ليس صدفة.

عمان لديها أكبر نسبة من السكان على أعضاء البرلمان في الأردن، و كل عضو في البرلمان يمثل سكان 96000. الزرقاء هي ثاني أكبر محافظة الممثلة تمثيلا ناقصا، مع 85000 من سكان عضوا في البرلمان. ثالث أكثر تمثيلا ناقصا هي محافظة اربد، مع 69000 شخص.

هناك جانب واحد من نسبة المشاركة وهذا هو النظر في قيمتها داخل بعض المحافظات، يمكن أن حجم الدوائر الفردية تختلف على نطاق واسع، وعلينا ان نلاحظ أن العديد من المناطق التي لديها خبرة الاحتجاجات هي المناطق التي تمثل أكثر من في البرلمان . على سبيل المثال، في وسطية، التي شهدت القتيل الوحيد من المحتجين خلال المظاهرات بعد ارتفاع أسعار الوقود، في منطقة التاسعة في اربد. هذه المنطقة تضم عضوا واحدا في البرلمان عن 14400 ناخب مسجل، مقارنة مع الدائرة السابعة في اربد، والتي لديها عضو واحد في البرلمان عن 46300 ناخب مسجل. سيكون من المثير للاهتمام أن نرى ما اذا كان نسبة المشاركة موحد في جميع أنحاء محافظة أو إذا كان أعلى في المناطق التي لديها أصغر نسب أعضاء البرلمان للناخبين.

عندما تصبح المزيد من المعلومات، سأحاول احلل آثارها على الأحداث التي أعقبت الانتخابات في تجهيز تعيين رئيس الوزراء من بعد انسور.

Jordan’s 2013 Parliamentary Elections at a Glance

Updated January 23, 2013—Today, approximately 2.3 million registered Jordanian voters (out of approximately 3.3 million eligible voters, and a total population of about 6.2 million) will begin voting in parliamentary elections to elect 150 MPs to the House of Deputies. There are a total of 1475 candidates competing for these seats, including 191 women. Of these, 606 are competing for the local district seats (including 105 women) and 819 are competing for the party list seats (including 86 women).

While analyzing the politics of the campaign and elections, and their importance in the context of Jordanian political reform is essential, it is important at this stage to also understand how the seats are being allocated. This is important both to properly understand the results of the election, as well as the reasons why the elections have been divisive. The regime has described them as a step on the reform process, as King Abdullah will consult parliament before naming a Prime Minister, while much of the opposition, including the Islamic Action Front (IAF) and many reformists have decided not to participate in the election. Regardless of one’s position it is important to note the procedures involved in electing MPs to the new parliament.

It is important to note the following sources for more information about the electoral process. The census data from 2011 is from GeoHive, while the number of seats in each district are from the electoral commission website.

House of Deputies: What’s at stake?

There are a total of 150 seats in the House of Deputies. Of these, there are 108 elected from 45 districts, 27 elected from party lists nationwide, and 15 reserved for female candidates under a quota system. There are also 12 seats reserved for minority groups (9 for Christians and 3 for Circassians and Chechens), and 9 seats reserved for bedouin. These are included in the district seats. While this may seem very complicated, the summaries below will make it easy to understand.

The most important thing to remember is that Jordanians will cast not one but two votes: one for the party list seats and the other for their local constituency. This is different from prior elections in which Jordanians had cast one ballot.

The electoral reform law made changes to the election process, but much of the opposition argues that it does not go far enough and is merely cosmetic. The law increased the number of seats from 120 to 150, with the introduction of proportional representation for 27 seats, and an additional 3 more seats assigned to female candidates under a quota system, increasing the number of seats reserved for women from 12 to 15. What remains is 108 seats elected from districts, which vary greatly in size. In Amman, MPs represent 96,000 residents each, while in Tafila, each MP represents approximately 22,000 residents.

Party List Seats (27 seats) – UPDATED

There are a total of 27 seats that are allocated to party lists. As mentioned above, Jordanians will cast two votes, one of which is for the party list seats and the other is for the district seats. There are a total of 61 party lists competing for these seats and the lists each have between nine and twenty-seven candidates.

Unlike the proportional representation systems in many countries, there is no minimum percentage threshold for a list to win seats. The number of seats awarded to each list will be calculated using the following method:

  1. The total number of votes each list receives will be divided by the total number of votes that all party lists receive.
  2. The resulting percentage will be multiplied by 27, with the resulting integer number being the preliminary number of seats that is awarded to that particular list.
  3. The lists will then be ranked according to the remaining fractions of a seat that they would be awarded. The list with the largest fraction will then be awarded one additional seat. This will be repeated until all the seats have been awarded to party lists.

While this method may seem complicated, it is in fact not as complex as it seems. The following example will demonstrate how this method works in practice.

Example

Total number of votes: 1 million

  • List A – 400,000 votes
  • List B – 350,000 votes
  • List C – 200,000 votes
  • List D – 40,000 votes
  • List E – 10,000 votes
  1. The total number of votes each list receives is divided by the total number of votes cast. This produces the resulting fractions: List A (0.4), List B (0.35), List C (0.2), List D (0.04), List E (0.01).
  2. These fractions are then multiplied by 27: List A (10.8), List B (9.45), List C (5.4), List D (1.08), List E (0.27). This translates into the following preliminary seat tally: List A (10), List B (9), List C (5), List D (1), and List E (no seats). This means that 25 out of 27 seats are allocated to lists, with two that remain unassigned.
  3. These two remaining seats are allocated in the order of the size of the fractional seats that each list would have been awarded, until all the seats have been distributed. This means that 1 additional seat is awarded to List A, because it has the largest fraction (0.8), and another seat is awarded to List B, with the second largest fraction (0.45).

This results in the following final allocation of seats for party lists:

  • List A – 11 seats
  • List B – 10 seats
  • List C – 5 seats
  • List D – 1 seat
  • List E – no seats.

District Seats (108 seats) – UPDATED

These seats are elected from 45 electoral districts, which vary greatly both in terms of population and in terms of the number of MPs they elect to parliament, and many areas that are historically loyal to the monarchy are overrepresented. The smallest districts elect one MP each, and the largest district, which is the First Electoral District in Balqa, elects seven MPs. The seats that are reserved for minority groups are assigned to certain districts, with the exception of the bedouin MPs, who are elected from three Bedouin districts which each elect three MPs.

The district seat MPs are elected using the single nontransferable vote system. In single-member districts the candidate who receives the most votes is elected. In a multi-member district  the number of MPs elected depends on the number of seats the district is allocated. For example, in the First District of Amman, which elects five MPs, the top five candidates will be elected to parliament.

The one exception to this is in districts where seats are reserved for minorities. In a seat such as the First Electoral District of Karak, which elects two Muslim MPs and one Christian MP, the top two Muslim candidates will be elected, as will the top Christian candidate. Voters – regardless of religious affiliation – can vote for whichever candidate they choose to support in these districts. In addition, Christian and Circassian voters who live in districts without a Christian or Circassian reserved seat can register to vote in a district that has a reserved seat provided that the district is located in the same governorate where they live.

In the previous election, there were “virtual districts” in each constituency, which meant that voters could vote in only one “virtual district” although they could choose which candidate to vote for regardless of where in the district they lived. These virtual districts were abolished by the electoral reform that was passed last year.

The following section is breakdown of the district seats by location.

Amman (Capital, Central Jordan)

The Amman governorate elects 25 MPs from seven districts. The Amman governorate has a total population of approximately 2.4 million in the 2011 census, meaning each MP represents 96,000 residents. Out of 25 MPs, there are 22 Muslim seats, 2 Circassian/Chechen seats, and 1 Christian seat. One of the Circassian seats was moved from the third district to the sixth district, causing controversy among some in the community who were upset by the move.

Balqaa (Central)

Balqaa elects 10 MPs from four districts, including 8 Muslim MPs and 2 Christian MPs. The governorate has a total population of approximately 419,000, meaning that each MP represents about 41,900 residents.

Madaba (Central)

Madaba elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, including 3 Muslim seats and 1 Christian seat. The governorate has a population of approximately 156,000 residents, with each MP representing approximately 39,000 residents.

Zarqa (Central)

Zarqa elects 11 MPs from four districts, including 9 Muslim MPs, 1 Christian MP, and 1 Circassian/Chechen MP. The governorate has a total population of approximately 931,000, meaning that each MP represents approximately 85,000 residents.

Aljoun (North)

Aljoun elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, including 3 Muslim seats and 1 Christian seat. The governorate has a total population of 144,000 residents, with each MP representing approximately 36,000 residents.

Irbid (North)

Irbid elects 17 MPs from nine electoral districts, including 16 Muslim MPs and one Christian MP. The governorate has a total population of approximately 1.1 million, with each MP representing approximately 69,000 residents.

Jerash (North)

Jerash elects 4 MPs from a single electoral district, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a total of 188,000 residents, meaning that each MP represents approximately 47,000 residents.

Mafraq (North)

Mafraq elects 4 MPs from one electoral district, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a population of approximately 179,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 45,000 residents.

It should be noted that this figure does not include the 3 Bedouin seats in the Northern Bedouin District, which are elected separately, although the district is located within this governorate. If these are included then the total number of seats from this governorate would increase to 7, but to avoid double counting these seats will be outlined below.

Aqaba (South)

Aqaba elects 2 MPs from a single electoral district, both of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a population of approximately 136,000, with each MP representing 68,000.

Karak (South)

Karak elects 10 MPs from six districts, including 8 Muslim MPs and 2 Christian MPs. The governorate has a total population of approximately 244,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 24,400 residents.

Maan (South)

Maan elects 4 MPs from three districts, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a total population of approximately 119,000, meaning each MP represents approximately 30,000 residents.

Tafila (South)

Tafila elects 4 MPs from two electoral districts, all of which are Muslim seats. The governorate has a population of approximately 88,000, with each MP representing approximatley 22,000 residents.

Bedouin Seats – UPDATED

There are a total of 9 seats reserved for Bedouin, which are divided into three Bedouin constituencies: Northern Bedouin, Central Bedouin, and Southern Bedouin. Each of these constituencies elects 3 MPs. The Northern Bedouin District is located within Mafraq governorate. The Central Bedouin district consists of parts of Amman governorate in the fourth electoral district. The Southern Bedouin District consists of parts of Aqaba and Maan governorates.

Bedouin districts are different from those which have seats reserved for the Christian or Circassian minorities. In those districts, voters are free to vote for any candidate they choose to support – for example, Muslim voters can vote for a Christian candidate if they choose to do so, and vice versa. In the three bedouin districts, the electoral law states which families are entitled to participate in electing MPs from each of the three bedouin districts. Members of these families are entitled to vote (and compete for seats in parliament) only in the bedouin district to which their family is assigned.

It should be noted that there are also three seats reserved for Bedouin women, which are included as part of the quota system.

Women’s Quota Seats (15 seats, including 3 reserved for Bedouin Women)

This election there are a total of 15 seats reserved for female candidates, including 3 that are reserved for Bedouin women. Women running for parliament do not campaign for these seats specifically, as they instead run in their districts. Each of the 12 governorates as well as each of the 3 bedouin districts is assigned one female quota seat.

In each governorate, the female candidate who receives the highest proportion of the vote in their district without being elected outright (but not the greatest number of votes, which is important because these districts have different populations) is awarded the female quota seat for that governorate. Prior to the electoral reform law passed last year, there were 12 seats reserved for women, one from each governorate. The electoral reform law added three additional seats for bedouin women, allocating one female quota seat to the female candidate receiving the highest proportion of votes (without being elected outright) in each of the three bedouin districts.

If a female candidate is elected outright then the quota seats would be assigned to other female candidates. In 2010 there were 12 quota seats, but a total of 13 women were elected to parliament because one candidate in Amman was able to get elected outright.

Could These Elections Bring Change After All?

On Wednesday, Jordan will hold a general election that has been touted by the regime as a step on the process to reform. What is actually going to happen is uncertain, but there are several different possibilities. One possibility is that the election produces a government that is chosen after token consultations with MPs allied with the government, and nothing will really change. There is also another, more hopeful possibility, which is that the election could lead to reform even if stalling was actually the regime’s original intention.

There is only one thing that seems certain – Prime Minister Ensour will tender his resignation the day after the election, and Jordan will have another new PM. This is likely because Ensour became the target of the protesters anger following the fuel price increases, but he is likely to remain in office as a caretaker while consultations take place, to select a PM who would be approved by a vote of confidence in the Lower House, even if the next PM is not necessarily an MP. It’s not clear who the next PM will be, but King Abdullah said in a recent discussion paper that if there was no clear majority in parliament then there would be consultations will all the relevant parliamentary blocs, and that the new PM would be approved by a vote of confidence in the lower house.

This is potentially a key change – in the current parliament having the PM be chosen by a vote of confidence is not significant immediately due to the election boycotts by much of the opposition. However, boycotts might not necessarily take place in future elections, and having the PM be approved in this manner is something that would be politically very difficult for the regime to reverse without losing further credibility.

What is most uncertain about the election is the makeup of the next parliament. With Islamists and many reformists boycotting, many leftist parties see a chance for political gains. However,  in a recent article on Al-Arabiya, one analyst, Mohamed Abu Rumman said that leftist parties are unlikely to win more than two to three seats in the next parliament. Part of the reason for this is their fragmentation. There are three lists mentioned in the article, including the People’s List and the Ploughmen’s Successor’s List which are all competing against each other for votes.  What is even less clear is the performance of the other parties – including those such as the National Current Party, which is headed by former Speaker Abdul Hadi Al Majali and the United National List which is headed by his relative Ayman Al-Majali, who both have conservative reputations, and could constitute a loyalist bloc in the next parliament.

With the election only two days away, much is uncertain. Perhaps the most important events of this election will be what happens after it takes place.

Vote Buying and the Role of MPs in a Democracy

Recently Ahmed Safadi, a former Member of Parliament who is currently contesting the election in the Amman third district was ordered detained on the allegation of vote-buying. Allegedly, he was illegally in possession of voter identification cards.

There have also been other instances of candidates being arrested during the campaign, including Mohammed Khushman, the Secretary General of the Jordanian National Union Party. Khushman was alleged to have pledged that voters in Salt would receive financial assistance in return for their support for him during the campaign, and also pledged that a local club would receive renovation in the event that he was elected to parliament. Jordan Times also reports that there will likely be more candidates who are arrested for participation in other “vote buying” activities.

According to the regime’s narrative, arrests like this are intended to curb the power of “political money” in the upcoming elections. Without addressing the allegations, which are quite possibly true, it is important to recognize some issues with both the Jordanian political process in general and these recent arrests in particular.

First, we must recognize that the regime itself has engaged in “vote-buying” activities through its manipulation of the electoral process, which continues to this day in the form of malapportioned electoral districts that frequently vary greatly in population size. During the campaign, the allegations against Khushman (who was, it should be noted, running on a national list rather than in a local district) were that he pledged that voters in Salt would receive financial assistance if he were elected, and that a local club would be renovated. In making these promises, he is pledging that as an MP his supporters will receive benefits for being connected to him. This is not uncommon in Jordan historically, as MPs have frequently been selected based on affinities and connections that can include tribal, family, or personal ties. Voters support these candidates due to their ability to most effectively provide patronage. In a parliament with relatively little power, this was seen as the most effective role that an MP could play. When the regime created malapportioned electoral districts, it was doing the same thing, providing the residents of the smaller districts privileged access to the resources of the state, and thus engaging in a form of vote buying on its own. It is worth noting that the present electoral law does nothing to change this, as it merely increases the number of MPs and adds 27 seats that will be elected via a national list.

Second, it can hardly be said that the decisions about who gets arrested in Jordan are made in an impartial or just manner. With widespread corruption, the state could pick and choose which of the guilty parties are to be prosecuted and which are not. The decisions of this type do not necessarily have to come from King Abdullah or senior regime officials, but rather could come from rivals seeking to prevent a candidate from being elected. This allegation was made by Ghassan Savadi, the brother and campaign manager for Ahmed Safadi, and whether or not it is true in this instance (and there is a good chance that it’s not) it is entirely possible that either the regime or rival candidates could corrupt the judicial process for their own political ends. Corrupt candidates and officials must face prosecution, but they must be prosecuted by independent prosecutors and tried in independent courts.

None of this is to say that those arrested were not guilty, but rather, the regime is prosecuting candidates for making pledges of financial or other support when its own hands on this issue are hardly clean. Arrests – even if they happen to be of the guilty – do nothing to change the reality that it is the system itself that must change.

Tawjihi Exams: A Student Dead, A Flawed Exam, and Many Questions

A student is dead in Faqou’ in Karak governorate after riots broke out following an incident at the Tawjihi exams. Someone was caught attempting to help students cheat in an examination hall, and police were called to assist. Subsequently, after the exam about 200 students – and some of their relatives – attacked a police station in Faqou’ and in the clashes one of the students was killed.

This incident comes as other reports of cheating have surfaced on the Tahjihi exams, which are required for university admission in Jordan. Al-Yarmouk satellite network said on Tuesday that it had in its possession a copy of the geology exam approximately 45 minutes prior to it being administered to students. There was also another incident in Jerash where the speakers at a mosque were used to leak the answers to the test to students. The problem has become so severe that the deputy head of the Jordanian Teachers’ Association (JTA) has said that there was a conspiracy to undermine the exams this year.

There is a larger issue though – why is it that this incident took place at all? Why were students and their families so angered to the extent that they attacked a police station when someone was caught attempting to help students cheat. It’s because the Tahjihi exam score is the sole factor in university admissions in most cases. Students frequently study for a year to prepare for them for 6-8 hours a day. This is the fundamental source of the anger when someone was caught attempting to help students cheat. Nothing excuses cheating, but when someone’s entire university admission chances depend on one test, they are going to seek out whatever advantage they can.

Flaws in the reliance on one examination have been pointed out before. Check out this slideshare show by Walid Maani about flaws in the Tawjihi assessment process. Ultimately, the solution is to adopt a more comprehensive method of assessing candidates for university rather than the reliance on one test, the results of which can be affected by any number of factors that have little to do with a student’s prospects for success at university or beyond. That’s the way to prevent incidents such as this one from happening again.

What the Electricity Price Increase Delay Means for the Election

The government implied once again that it is going to raise electricity prices, it just won’t happen in the next two weeks before the election. The cabinet stated that both price increases and power cuts are likely to happen, but that the decision to change (code word for “raise”) electricity rates would be made by the next cabinet after the election.

The way Jordan Times reports the decision is revealing. Their article about it says that there were two factors in this decision: “the caretaker government’s limited mandate-namely to oversee the January 23 parliamentary elections,” and “the ongoing impact of a decision to slash energy subsidies.” The decision to eliminate fuel subsidies was, of course, made by the caretaker government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour. That decision triggered widespread protests across Jordan. Yet when that decision was made the government did not consider it outside the scope of its mandate at the time. So what happened?

It seems to me that this decision is yet another act of stalling by a regime that has mastered the art. The Jordan Times article, along with another one that was published on December 28th, all but announces an impending electricity price increase. So why the delay? Most likely its because the regime doesn’t want people protesting a rate increase by boycotting the election. This way the regime will be able to get through the election and avoid the hard decisions about political reform that much longer.

Where have we seen this before?

Will Bassem Awadallah Finally be Charged for Corruption?

Bassem Awadallah corruption

Jordan Times has reported that a corruption case will be announced within the next week. Could it involve Bassem Awadallah? I have heard from multiple people that he may finally be charged with corruption. The notorious former planning minister has been accused for years of stealing millions from the government.

It is worth noting that Bassem Awadallah’s father was close to the late King Hussein and Bassem is also close to King Abdullah. These rumors that Awadallah will be prosecuted come as the people have demanded that corruption in Jordan come to an end. First King Abdullah arrested Dahabi and now potentially Bassem Awadallah in an attempt to alleviate the concerns of the people regarding corruption at the highest levels of the regime.

This is not the first time that it has been said that Awadallah would be prosecuted. Indeed, reports of corruption and other indiscretions have surrounded Awadallah for some time. In March 2012, a committee investigating the privatization of the national phosphate company recommended prosecuting Bassem Awadallah along with former Prime Minister Mahrouf Bakhit, but no action was taken against him.

His personal life has also been the subject of much negative scrutiny. His home in Jordan, which is said to be valued at $4 million is one of the nation’s largest but he does not even live in it. He was reported to have severely beaten his wife of four months in 2009, leading her to file for divorce. When his mother died he held a funeral that was one of the largest in Jordan. There have also been incidents involving members of his family, including his father.

What is important to realize here is that prosecuting individuals, whether they are Mohammed Dahabi, Bassem Awadallah, or others makes little difference if the fundamental political culture remains the same. Otherwise things like this could become yet more attempts by the regime to make it appears that reform is happening while in fact nothing is going on.