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Jordanians Vote in Opposition-Boycotted Election

A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Amman, January 23, 2013.
A man casts his ballot at a polling station in Amman, January 23, 2013.
VOA News
Jordanians are voting in a parliamentary election boycotted by opposition members who say voting reforms enacted last year favor supporters of King Abdullah.

Voters are selecting members of a new 150-member House of Deputies. The parliament also includes a 60-member Senate appointed by the king.

Jordan's Parliament

  • Consists of the Senate and House of Deputies
  • Senate has 60 members appointed by King Abdullah
  • House of Deputies has 150 members elected by voters
  • Past elections held in 2003, 2007 and 2010
The Jordanian leader has pledged to change how top officials are selected, including giving the parliament a say in choosing the prime minister.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, who is set to step down, praised the election Wednesday as a clean vote that shows the government is following through on its promises.

"This time these are clean elections and I am very sure that the Jordanian people are confident that we started from today a new era of political reform."

But the opposition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, says the electoral system ensures support for the king by favoring rural tribal regions where he has great support and marginalizing urban areas where the opposition is stronger.

There are 2.3 million registered voters in the nation of 6.5 million people.

Jordan has seen protests calling for reforms, but not on the scale of other uprisings that swept across the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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