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Election commission did a good job — observers

Experts say success would help regain public trust in process

By Omar Obeidat , Khetam Malkawi , Merza Noghai - Sep 22,2016 - Last updated at Sep 22,2016

AMMAN – Experts on Wednesday praised the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for successfully administering Tuesday's parliamentary polls in a transparent and fair way. 

In separate remarks to The Jordan Times, they said the "transparent polls" would help regain Jordanians' confidence in elections and erase the negative image attached with some previous polls. 

Amer Bani Amer, director general of the Civil Coalition for Monitoring the Jordanian Parliamentary Elections (Rasid), said the IEC succeeded in managing the entire electoral process, describing the agency as impartial. 

"This was obvious during the entire electoral process. Most of the commission's staff showed high professionalism," he added.

Bani Amer said the coalition observed 950 violations, but they were not committed by the IEC but rather by candidates and their supporters.

On whether there was any government interference, he said authorities, including security agencies, did not interfere with the electoral process, but did their job in supporting the IEC to carry out its mandate. 

"I believe the electoral process this time was more fair and transparent than any other elections held in the past decade. Some mistakes, interventions and violations were recorded, but they have not affected the outcome of the elections," said Oraib Rentawi, a columnist and a political analyst.

However, Rentawi said the IEC, should document the mistakes that occurred during the polls to address them in the future. He did not elaborate on the type of mistakes. 

As for the citizens' trust in the elections, especially after the 2007 and 2010 elections and the reported vote rigging then, he said Tuesday's polls would contribute to rebuilding the public trust in the process.

For his part, Musa Shteiwi, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan, described the IEC's administration of the electoral process as "very good".

Shteiwi added that the commission's preparations and measures included several indicators of transparency that enhanced confidence in the elections, such as using cameras during vote counting.

"I met a European ambassador earlier in the day, who told me that he hasn't seen such good procedures like the ones followed in these elections, even in his country," Shteiwi said.

Yet, the election process had some mistakes that were related to some employees’ lack of training and enough awareness of procedures, he said, stressing that the election observers in general did not register substantial incidents of deficiency.  

Shteiwi expressed his concern over vote buying, describing it as an “exhausting issue” in elections. He called for enhancing public awareness against this phenomenon and imposing deterring penalties.

Majed Al Amir, a journalist at Al Rai daily specialised in Parliament, agreed that the IEC has administered the elections successfully. 

 

“The elections were 100 per cent free and fair,” he said, adding the IEC leadership would eventually erase the “bad image” that labelled parliamentary elections over the past decade. 

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