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A learning curve

Aug 15,2017 - Last updated at Aug 15,2017

The modest turnout in the governorate and municipal elections on Tuesday is disappointing to all those who vested great effort in campaigning for decentralisation as part of the country's march towards democratisation. 

The overall voter turnout across the Kingdom was only 31.7 per cent. This is a far cry from what was projected by pundits and observers who viewed the municipal and governorate council elections as critical to democracy in the country and predicted greater voter participation. 

There are several factors which could explain the low voter turnout; among them could be election fatigue, the general mood of despondency during economic hardships, regional tensions and, perhaps, the hot summer weather. 

Yet, some parts of the Kingdom registered encouraging voter participation, such as Ajloun, Jerash, Mafraq, Maan and Karak. 

Amman, however, registered one of the lowest voter turnouts with only around 17 per cent. 

The government did all it could to facilitate and encourage citizens’ participation, and while there were a few instances of disturbance or interruption, the overall picture was orderly, calm and efficient. 

Perhaps, the biggest reason for the low voter turnout could be the fact that the people of Jordan are not used to local elections, having been more focused on parliamentary elections in which competition is generally stiff. 

Local elections are a learning process and there is little doubt that the next round of local polls will garner greater participation. 

 

Once the final outcome of Tuesday's elections are known, the people will realise what difference an elected representative can make in promoting and protecting the interests of their cities, towns and villages. 

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