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Premier urges refugee camp residents to vote

By JT - Jan 08,2013 - Last updated at Jan 08,2013

AMMAN — Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour on Tuesday urged residents of Palestinian camps in Jordan to actively participate in the parliamentary elections to arrive at a Lower House that represents the Jordanian community as a whole.

Ensour said camp residents are an important part of the Jordanian community and they have the same rights and duties as all Jordanians, stressing that their active participation in the January 23 vote will help achieve real strides in political life.

The premier made these statements during a meeting with around 500 residents and dignitaries of Palestinian refugee camps across the Kingdom, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“We are all Jordanians, in accordance with the Constitution, and our perspectives and decisions regarding the reform process and development must be unified,” Ensour said during the meeting that was also attended by several ministers.

The premier also stressed that voters must not succumb to vote-buying attempts that seek to influence the electoral process, noting that the way towards democracy is through free and fair elections.

Minister of State for Prime Ministry Affairs Nufan Ajarmeh said violations in relation to “political money” carry a penalty that reaches up to five years in prison, in pursuance of the Elections Law.

The attendees thanked the premier for meeting with them.

Ensour’s meeting with camp residents is his second since he assumed office in October.

There are 10 official Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, which accommodate more than 346,000 registered refugees, or 17 per cent of the two million registered refugees in the Kingdom, according to the UNRWA website.

The discussion Ensour held with the camp dignitaries came amid complaints that certain parties are spreading rumours that authorities would revoke the citizenship of Jodanians of Palestinian origin who do not cast their ballots in the upcoming elections.

A writer at the pro-Islamists opposition daily, Assabeel, said the rumours are spreading in camps and urban centres in particular.

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