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Islamic Action Front mulls coalitions as it prepares for local elections

By Sawsan Tabazah - Jan 14,2017 - Last updated at Jan 14,2017

AMMAN — The Islamic Action Front (IAF) on Saturday announced its participation in municipal elections during a press conference held at its headquarters in Amman. 

IAF Secretary General Mohammad Zyoud said that the party made the decision to participate during the Shoura Council’s meeting on Thursday. 

The IAF aims, he said, to serve the Jordanian community, increase positive communication with Jordanians, contribute to solving municipalities’ problems and improve the local administration sector. 

Zyoud claimed that the large debts of municipalities have left them, especially the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), unable to offer services and maintain infrastructure.

Official figures contradict Zyoud’s statements on the financial position of municipalities.

GAM has for the third year in a row built budgets with zero deficit, while the debts of municipalities have gone down from JD125 million in 2014 to JD49 million this year, thanks to larger proportions of support secured for local authorities. 

The elections will take place in the second half of 2017, with contestants competing for 270 seats  in 145 constituencies across the Kingdom. 

Zyoud clarified that the IAF’s announcement of participation in the local council elections came earlier than planned, as coalitions have already begun forming. 

He noted the party will not take part in the elections on its own, but instead will form coalitions, hoping to repeat the National Reform Coalition’s experience in the Parliamentary elections last September, when the Islamists and their partners formed 20 national tickets and won 16 out of the Lower House’s 130 seats.

Precise details about the party’s participation, including the number and names of nominees, have not yet been discussed.

However, Murad Adayleh, IAF’s deputy secretary general for administrative affairs, will head the Higher Commission for the Municipalities and Decentralisation Elections, tasked with handling the polls.

According to the by-law governing the local government elections, the Kingdom is divided into 145 constituencies with a total of 270 seats. 

Amman will have 31 constituencies with 41 seats, Irbid 22 constituencies and 39 seats, Balqa 12 constituencies and 21 seats, Karak 10 constituencies and 21 seats, Maan eight constituencies and 16 seats. 

As for Zarqa, the third largest city, it will be divided into 13 constituencies and allocated 30 seats, Mafraq 18 constituencies and 25 seats, Tafileh six constituencies and 14 seats, Madaba six constituencies and 15 seats, Ajloun seven constituencies and 19 seats, Jerash six constituencies and 15 seats and Aqaba six constituencies and 14 seats.

Women, according to Article 3 of the by-law, will get 27 seats across the Kingdom, divided as follows: four seats for the capital, four for Irbid, three for Zarqa, two for Balqaa, two for Karak, two for Maan, two for Mafraq, one for Tafileh, two for Madaba, two for Ajloun, two for Jerash and one for Aqaba.

According to the Decentralisation Law, the governorate council will serve as a legislature, while an executive council headed by the governor, with members representing top officials in the area, will represent the local government.

 

Women have a 10 per cent quota, while the Cabinet is entailed to appoint a maximum of 15 per cent of the elected members in each council, provided that a third of such seats are allocated to women.

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