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SIGI hails IEC for ‘smooth, safe’ conduct of elections

By Rana Husseini - Nov 11,2020 - Last updated at Nov 11,2020

A woman registers to vote at a polling station in Amman on Tuesday (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI) on Tuesday praised the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for its quick response and cooperation with regard to comments and observations during the monitoring of the elections. 

SIGI Executive Director Asma Khader said the comments “reported by our around 3,000 volunteers, who are spread in various polling stations, are not major”.

“This is an indicator that the procedures adopted by the IEC to ensure smooth and safe elections are going in the right direction,” Khader said during an online press conference. 

SIGI’s monitoring process is part of the organisation’s Eye on Women Programme to Monitor the 2020 Elections from a Gender Perspective, which was accredited by the IEC as one of the monitoring supervisory bodies.

The programme also aims to empower women, emphasise the importance of equal opportunities for Jordanian women, and ensure their active participation in the political, social, economic and cultural decision-making process. 

“SIGI and the Eye on Women programme seeks to boost the election process to ensure the best form of democracy and justice for Jordanian men and women,” Khader added.

Around 4.6 million citizens are eligible to vote to elect 130 MPs, including nine seats for Christians, three for the Circassians and the Chechens, and 15 seats that are dedicated to women via a quota system that was introduced in 2003.   

There are a total of 1,824 polling stations, housing 8,080 ballot boxes, while the total number of registered candidates stand at 1,674, including 360 women, according to the IEC. 

Khader said that the violations detected by the volunteers were mainly “few incidents of individuals who tried to influence voters’ choices, mainly targeting women, by offering financial rewards”.

In other instances, Khader said that “wheelchair users were unable to reach the polling booths because some were located on the second floor of a building and they had to be carried by their family or bystanders”.

Meanwhile, Eye on Women Programme General Coordinator Ahmad Ajarmeh pointed out that the volunteers monitoring the elections reported that most polling stations opened on time.

“Most polling stations opened at 7am, with one polling station opening at 7:22 am,” Ajarmeh said.

He added that reaching the polling stations were facilitated well and citizens found it easy.

“The polling boxes were transparent, and our volunteers were able to inspect them before the commencement of voting,” Ajarmeh added. 

The volunteers who are monitoring the elections are focusing on how women candidates and other females who are involved in the electoral process are being treated by the public and the relevant officials.

The Eye on Women programme aims to empower women, emphasise the importance of equal opportunities for Jordanian women, as well as, ensure their active participation in the political, social, economic and cultural decision-making process.

The programme includes several activities including monitoring the 2020 parliamentary elections from a gender perspective along with motivating and building the capacity of women candidates and voters.  

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