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Protests over parliamentary polls continue

By Taylor Luck - Feb 16,2013 - Last updated at Feb 16,2013

AMMAN — Hundreds of activists on Friday protested against the January 23 parliamentary elections, urging authorities to annul the poll results.

In separate demonstrations in Amman and the southern city of Karak, leftist and independent activists accused authorities of turning a blind eye to “widespread violations”.

In a demonstration in the east Amman neighbourhood of Hay Al Tafaileh, some 150 activists erected a “condolences” tent to mark the passing of the polls’ “cleanliness”, declaring the current Lower House “illegitimate”.

In a peaceful one-hour rally, participants accused the Independent Elections Commission of “mismanagement”, chanting, “May God rest the legitimacy of the elections” and “Results after one week — you call this a clean election?”

Protesters pointed to the narrow margins of victory in several races as proof of widespread “fraud”, chanting. “One day Abla, one day Qashou, and you call these elections clean?” referencing a recount over a hotly disputed race between the Democratic Renaissance List headed by former MP Abla Abu Olbeh and the Citizenship ticket headed by Hazem Qashou.

Meanwhile, dozens of leftists in Karak protested against the elections, demanding that decision makers annul the results.

During the two-hour rally, participants called for the dissolution of parliament, chanting “The people want the downfall of parliament,” according to eyewitnesses.

Karak protesters also called into question the “legitimacy” of the current parliament to form the next government, chanting, “The people demand to choose the next government.”

Friday’s protests were held a few days before the official launch of deliberations between lawmakers and the Royal Court over the next prime minister, who is expected to head the country’s first-ever parliamentary government.

Some 56.7 per cent of Jordan’s 2.2 million registered voters took part in last month’s polls, which were widely declared free and fair by hundreds of international observers that deployed approximately 4,000 monitors.

The polls were marked by the boycott of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan’s largest opposition movement, in protest over an electoral law critics claim favours independents at the expense of political parties.

Despite the boycott, some 1,400 candidates and 61 party lists competed for the 150-seat Lower House. 

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