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Elections in 21 local councils cancelled after candidates win by acclamation — IEC

‘Security forces, army allowed to vote by law, but instructed not to by management’

By Dana Al Emam - Jul 31,2017 - Last updated at Jul 31,2017

A total of 1,096 women have registered to compete for municipality councils’ seats, 119 for governorate council membership and 13 for the Greater Amman Municipality council membership (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — The Independent Election Commission (IEC) will not carry out local elections in 21 councils across the country, as candidates have won the seats by acclamation there, IEC President Khaled Kalaldeh said on Sunday.

In an interview with The Jordan Times, he explained that, in some remote areas usually inhabited by a limited number of families and tribes, citizens reach consensuses that match the number of candidates with the number of seats allocated to the local council.

Meanwhile, 68 women have won local council seats by acclamation, he added. 

Two local councils did not witness any women candidates. In this case, the municipalities minister assigns women with the required qualifications to these seats.

However, Kalaldeh did not attribute this to a low interest among women to participate.

He underlined that a total of 1,096 women have registered to compete for municipality councils’ seats, 119 for governorate council membership and 13 for the Greater Amman Municipality council membership.

The commission president added that 14 per cent of candidates for mayorships are women. 

By Sunday morning, 188 candidates had withdrawn from the race, he said, adding that the IEC’s commissioners’ council has cancelled 83 candidacy applications, 23 of which were later approved after judicial decisions.

Only one candidacy application was rejected by the judiciary after voters’ challenge.

Withdrawal is valid until the evening of August 1, when the IEC will start printing ballot papers. The names of those who withdraw after the set date will still appear on ballot papers, which are of three types.

Blue papers are allocated for mayorships, whereby names and pictures of candidates are present and voters only have to select one candidate.

Voters will also be handed a green paper for selecting a maximum of two members of governorate councils.

However, voters have to write down the names of local council members to ensure the selection of a number of candidates equal to the number of seats, and to consider the seats allocated for women under the quota. Otherwise, the ballot paper will be null.

Also on the evening of August 1, the IEC will publish the final lists of candidates.

Regarding rejection complaints filed in courts, either by candidates or by voters, the commission has faced a number of challenges, mainly due to the fact that, for the first time, voters were allocated to constituencies based solely on their place of residence.

Another challenge, according to the official, is that the number of voters is tentative and subject to continuous changes, explaining that personnel of the security forces and the army are allowed to vote by law, but the managements of these bodies have ordered their employees not to vote.

This, alongside reasons related to the natural deaths of eligible voters and the influx of expatriates, has decreased the number of voters from nearly 4.6 million when the process first started to some 4.1 million voters now. 

Kalaldeh concluded by urging voters registered to vote at Abdali’s Rashid Zyoud Hall to contact the IEC, as the hall was replaced by three voting centres in schools.

 

Voters can reach the commission call centre at 117100 or send a message with their national identification number to 94444.

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