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Time to keep election promises

Nov 11,2020 - Last updated at Nov 11,2020

In spite of the unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Jordanians on Tuesday flocked to cast their ballots in the parliamentary elections, fulfilling a constitutional requirement to elect members of the 19th Lower House of Parliament.

It is hoped that the new parliament will put to good use the mandate the people have given it and rise up to the challenges, especially in times of COVID-19.

The low turnout came as no surprise as the surge in coronavirus cases and deaths had an impact on the overall voter participation. A total of 1,386,749 citizens cast their votes, representing 29.9 per cent out of around 4.6 million eligible voters, according to the Independent Election Commission (IEC). 

IEC Chief Commissioner Khalid Kalaldeh said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the voter turnout, which witnessed an increase in the number of young voters and a decline in the number of senior citizens, mainly due to health fears amid the spread of the pandemic.

It is heartening that the voting had not witnessed any major incidents or public health order breaches related to COVID-19. However, several cases of vote buying have been reported as highlighted in the reports of observers and civil society organisations. The IEC has referred several violations to the concerned authorities.

The cooperation and coordination among authorities and security agencies deserve kudos for the smooth conduct of elections amid the challenges wrought by COVID-19.  

It is without doubt that the highest number of voter turnout is what is desired to elect a strong, capable and effective Lower House, however, amid a challenging backdrop, Jordan has succeeded in fulfilling the pivotal constitutional requirement.

A series of challenges await the new Lower House that need to be effectively and immediately dealt with, including but not limited to, high public debt, rising unemployment rate, poverty, political developments pertaining to the Palestinian cause and the projected economic contraction this year. 

The new Parliament takes office amid unprecedented and exceptional political, economic and social developments in addition to challenges in the health sector and the handling of the pandemic, which require exceptional achievements and performance.

The Lower House needs to restore public confidence and the people must hold representatives accountable to their election promises.

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