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Elections off to smooth start, observers say

By JT - Sep 20,2016 - Last updated at Sep 20,2016

People are seen outside a voting centre in Amman on Tuesday waiting to cast their ballots (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Civil Coalition for Monitoring Elections and the Performance of Elected Councils (Rasid) on Tuesday said the election process started "smoothly, proving the preparedness of Independent Election Commission (IEC) cadres". 

The IEC responded to all of Rasid's observation, head of the coalition Amer Bani Amer said at a press conference, announcing that 93 per cent of polling centres opened on time at 7am, while 5.5 per cent were 1 to 30 minutes late and 1.5 per cent were 31 to 60 minutes late, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

As for security presence, Bani Amer said 92 per cent of the polling stations have an intensified presence of patrols and police officers, adding that two to three unarmed officers are placed at the centres to ensure order.

Field monitoring revealed that some officers were present inside the polling rooms, which is against the rules, and Rasid contacted the IEC on the matter, Bani Amer said, noting that the commission responded positively and addressed the matter.

Rasid has deployed 5,000 observers stationed at polling centres and 250 roaming observers, in addition to the teams at the central operations room and the communication team comprising 90 researchers.

Meanwhile, the Jordan Bar Association (JBA), which observing the elections for the first time, said it has deployed 300 observers around the Kingdom. 

The participating JBA observers detected various violations, the most significant of which was blocking local observers in a polling centre at the fifth electoral district in Amman.

In a statement, the syndicate said there were some Internet disruptions at some centres, recording a number of "vote buying incidents" outside polling stations.

A total of 13,398 national observers have been accredited by the IEC to monitor the elections, while 676 international observers have been accredited.

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