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Despite boycott, Muslim Brotherhood to monitor polls

By Taylor Luck - Jan 22,2013 - Last updated at Jan 22,2013

AMMAN — The Muslim Brotherhood has announced that it will monitor Wednesday’s parliamentary elections, vowing to uncover any “irregularities” at the ballot box.

Despite its official boycott of the polls, Brotherhood leaders said they would dispatch over 400 observers across the country on election day.

“Trained staff from each of our branches across the country will be at every polling station to ensure there are no violations and the vote is fair,” said Hamzah Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood’s political arm.

“Although we may not be participating, we will be watching, and watching closely.”

Islamist leaders say the move comes out of their “lack of faith” in the Independent Elections Commission to fully monitor the polls, claiming that the elections watchdog’s staff and resources are “insufficient”.

“As it is not an elected body and it has relied heavily on the government for support, we believe the electoral commission is neither independent nor able to fully carry out its task,” Mansour added.

In addition to the monitoring teams, the Brotherhood is expected to run an elections “operations room” and voter hotline in order to monitor results and follow up on any claims of voter fraud.

The Islamist movement has claimed to have collected “months” worth of data on potential infractions related to the electoral process and vowed to reveal the results of its monitoring teams’ reports at “an appropriate time”.

Although welcoming authorities’ recent arrest of several candidates for alleged vote buying, Brotherhood officials described efforts to crack down on the phenomenon as “too little, too late”.

“The issue of political money threatens to taint these elections, but we are afraid that all the ‘transactions’ have been completed,” Mansour said.

The Brotherhood, Jordan’s largest opposition movement, is boycotting Wednesday’s polls in protest against the Elections Law, which it says does not allocate enough seats in parliament to political parties. 

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