On January 23, 2013, Jordanians went to the polls to vote in the first election since the country enacted reforms following widespread protests during the Arab Spring. The reforms include the establishment of the Independent Election Commission (IEC), a new Constitutional Court, a new Election Law and a new Political Parties Law.
In this first election administered by the IEC, Jordanians cast two ballots—one for the national district and one for a local district. Hermann Thiel, IFES Chief of Party in Jordan, answers some questions about Election Day in Amman.
How was the mood on Election Day?
Overall, there was a positive mood among voters and many commented on the improvement in the electoral procedures from previous elections. Poll workers were positive, and mentioned they were better trained than during previous elections, even though they had an increased work load in having to count two sets of ballot papers.
How was turnout?
Final turnout figures are to be announced, but turnout was around 56 percent, which is a slightly higher percentage than previous elections.
How was security?
There were a few isolated local security incidents, but, in general, the security on Election Day was good. More than 32,000 police officers were deployed to provide protection at 4,069 polling stations.
For the first time, Jordanians casted two ballots during this election, one for the national district and one for the relevant local district. How did this affect the process?
For the first time, voters were provided printed ballots. Each voter received two: one for local district candidates, on which an individual candidate was selected, and one for the national district, which allowed voters to tick the box next to the printed name and symbol for the political party of their choice. After filling out both, voters placed them in the respective ballot box provided for each of the two types of ballot.
Although voters were asked to fill out both ballots, many who came in were not familiar with the choices for political parties on the national district ballot and were more interested in casting a vote for only the local district candidates. Therefore, a number of ballots for the national district were not marked.
When can we expect results?
Results are expected either late Thursday, January 24, or early Friday, January 25.
When will the elected take office?
The elected representatives will take office before February 4, 2013.
See Elections in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: January 23 Chamber of Deputies Elections for more information.