JORDAN
Parliamentary Chamber: Majlis Al-Umma

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2003

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Chamber:
  Majlis Al-Umma


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  17 June 2003


Purpose of elections:

  For the first time since King Abdullah had dissolved the House of Deputies at the end of its four-year term in June 2001, elections were held for all the seats of this Chamber. General elections had previously been held in November 1997.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 26 February 2003, King Abdullah II issued a royal decree to organize parliamentary elections that were finally held on 17 June 2003. King Abdullah had dissolved the Parliament in June 2001, at the end of its four-year term and general elections should have followed in November of that year, the first since he ascended the throne upon the death of his father in 1999. Nevertheless, they were postponed fifteen months due firstly to procedural problems and later on to turmoil in the Middle East, according to the authorities.

The elections were based on a new electoral law that increased the number of seats from 80 to 110, lowered the voting age by one year to 18 and reserved six seats for women.

Some 765 candidates, including 54 women, registered to take part in the legislative elections. The elections were marked by the participation of opposition forces, especially the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had boycotted the 1997 elections to protest the one-person, one-vote election formula. This formula was still applied for the 2003 elections.

The balloting went smoothly although some cases of irregularities were often reported in some areas. Observers pointed out that some scenes of what they termed "public misbehaviour and indiscipline" had occurred during the election process.

Declaring a public holiday to encourage a high turnout effectively paid off, as almost 59 per cent of all registered voters cast their ballots. The official elections spokesman described this turnout as "relatively good" when compared to the 1997 elections, in which 44.27 per cent of all registered voters had participated.

The independents, notably representatives of the major tribes and families traditionally loyal to the Hashemite royal family, carried a large majority of the House of Deputies' 110 seats and more than half the country's 45 constituencies. The Islamist opposition, which won about half of the 30 seats it had contested, declared that the election was marred by fraud. No woman was elected and a special commission was tasked with choosing six women to fill the quota of seats reserved for them, from among the 54 women candidates who had stood for the elections.

On 27 October 2003, the members of the new government chaired by Mr. Faisal al-Fayez took their constitutional oath before King Abdullah II.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (17 June 2003): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 2 325 496
Voters 1 342 999 (58 %)

Round no 1: Distribution of votes  
Political Group Votes %
Islamic Action Front 139 229 10.40
Independents and others 1 203 770 89.60

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Islamic Action Front 17
Independents and others 87

Comments:
  An additional six seats were allocated to women by a special electoral panel.
Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 104
Women: 6
Percent of women: 5.45


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Copyright 2003 Inter-Parliamentary Union