Voters' views: Jordan election


The BBC's Arabic Service has spoken to Jordanian voters about their views on Tuesday's parliamentary poll. Do they think the election is free and fair? Do they plan to participate? And what do they consider the most pressing issues facing the country today? Here is a snapshot of their responses.

Eyad Al-Habashneh, 46, computer engineer (Plans to participate)

The way the constituencies have been divided is fair - it represents all segments of society, including minorities and women. In my opinion, the new system of voting directly for your preferred candidate is much better than [the previous system of] voting for parties and blocs. I believe that the Jordanian people are able to choose deputies on the basis of their political manifestos, not just their tribal and clan affiliation.

Among the most important issues for me are tax laws and the social security system.

Rosaylah Botoosh, 24, Private sector worker (First time voter)

There is no point in boycotting the elections. It's always much better to participate and to take a step in changing things from the inside.

One thing I am really pleased about is the quota system which guarantees women a number of seats. I hope this system will continue until women's full participation in political life becomes part and parcel of Jordanian society.

Of all the issues that concern me, I hope that the new members of parliament will be able to meet the high expectations of voters and serve this country to the best of their abilities, rather than serving their personal interests.

Imad Bayazidi, 29, financial manager (Boycotting the poll)

I have participated in past elections, but I didn't know enough about the electoral process and voted on the basis of tribal preferences. This time, I searched for a candidate who represents my views on issues such as how best to deal with the economy, but all I found were inflated political slogans and promises.

Also, now that electoral districts are sub-divided into the smaller non-geographic "virtual" sub-districts, it creates the possibility of a candidate winning a seat even though he may have garnered fewer votes overall compared to his rivals.

In my view, the new parliament will be like its predecessor, and will not be able to pass any radical legislation that serves the country.

Omar Salem, 30, engineer

These are tribal elections and not parliamentary elections. The concept of clans is still strong. In the absence of real party politics, the current system of voting directly for candidates - which many people dislike - reinforces tribal ties and therefore kills off any chance of voting for the strongest candidate.

So it is not surprising that the same people are re-elected as members of parliament and it is not strange at all to see the same pictures, posters and slogans from previous elections. I'm not surprised either when there are cases of lawmakers not taking political office seriously and for some others not to attend parliamentary sessions.

I hope for a strong and effective parliamentary council with a real capacity to address corruption and other economic problems.

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