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Ajloun, Jerash residents flock to polls

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Aug 16,2017 - Last updated at Aug 16,2017

Voters wait outside a polling station in Ajloun on Tuesday (Photo courtesy of Khaled Momani)

JERASH/AJLOUN — Residents of Jerash and Ajloun on Tuesday braved the hot weather to participate in the twin local elections.

The neighbouring northern cities witnessed a “considerable” turnout during the first-half of the polling day, officials said.

In Jerash, 45km north of Amman, voter turnout reached 40 per cent by 2pm, Muin Khasawneh, head of the election committee in Jerash, told The Jordan Times.

He added that the polling process went smoothly and that voters were “cooperative” and “generally aware” of the procedures.

A fierce competition took place between the campaigners, as only two candidates were running for the mayorship of the Greater Jerash Municipality.

Radwan Shaer, a former mayor running for Jerash mayorship, said that the competition was “intense” this year, as he and his competitor have been very close in the number of supporters.

“Democracy means someone will win and the loser has to accept the result,” he added.

In Ajloun, 70km north of Amman, the only difficulty organisers faced was dealing with the “large number” of voters, Abdul Fattah Ibrahim, head of the election committee, said.

Hammam Mohammad, a voter from Ajloun, said he was keen to vote for both municipal and governorate councils, adding that he did not notice any obstacles during the polling process.

He said that, although the function and authority of the governorate councils are “still not clear”, he voted to see what they would do once elected.

Yousef Zreiqat, a candidate for Jerash governorate council, said that the voting process was “trouble-free”, noting, however, some “complications” in the ballot papers.

Zreiqat blamed the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs for the voters’ “lack of knowledge” regarding the governorate councils. 

He praised the Decentralisation Law, especially the two-vote system, as it gives voters more freedom in choosing candidates not based on tribal affiliations.

Ajloun voter Khaled Momani told The Jordan Times that “all of the candidates” in his area come from the same tribe, which allowed him to choose the most eligible candidates, rather than being forced to vote for his relatives.

Najah Zatimeh, a Jerash resident said: “Although I am not expecting anything from the candidates, I will vote for a new candidate to see if they will make a change.”

“Candidates have two personalities: one before and one after the elections,” she added.

For Jerash resident Um Habib, the previous mayors and municipal councils’ members were “not competent” enough to occupy their positions and they implemented “wrongful” projects, such as planting trees on pavements, which forced people to walk on the streets.

The resident said she did not vote for either the municipal or the governorate councils, as she was “disappointed” by the first and did not know about the latter.

Mohammad Ajour, a resident of Jerash, said he was not keen on voting, as “all candidates are similar” but he had to support his tribe’s candidates.

“I think our tribe has some educated candidates, who will be capable of representing citizens appropriately,” he added. 

 

According to the Independent Election Commission, the number of candidates for all councils in Jerash reached 66 and105 in Ajloun.

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