Jordanians mull abstaining from vote

2013-01-21 11:58
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

'Children's refugee crisis'

The United Nations speak of a 'Children's refugee crisis' because more than half Syria refugees are children.

Zarqa - Jordanians sceptical about the outcome of a 23 January legislative election say they will not vote as they are fed up with the empty promises and failures of past parliaments.

Regular Arab Spring-inspired protests over the past two years have demanded sweeping political and economic reform, including more jobs and the elimination of poverty and corruption.

"I don't think I'll vote. I'm tired of seeing and hearing the same slogans, promises and lies over and over again," Mohammad Qeisi, aged 43, said as he sat outside his shop in the city of Zarqa, a traditional Islamist stronghold 23km northeast of Amman.

"The candidates never keep their promises after they win. They change their phone numbers and personalities, becoming unreachable."

More than 2.27 million voters have registered to choose from around 1 500 candidates contesting for 150 seats in the lower house of parliament.

Jordan wants Wednesday's vote to be a focal point for reform, but some people are concerned that many candidates lack clear programmes, despite banners on streets throughout the country with their smiling or serious faces and pledges to improve the lives of Jordanians.

Hotbed for extremists

"They are promising us all kinds of things just to win our votes. Every election, we hope something different will happen. But we get nothing," Yasmin Ghanem, aged 25, a government employee in Zarqa, said.

The industrial city of more than a million people, and a hotbed for Islamic extremists, suffers from over-population, poor infrastructure, dilapidated buildings and water problems.

"Favouritism, nepotism and tribalism control everything. I'm not sure about voting," said Ghanem, who wore an Islamic headscarf and jeans.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups like the National Reform Front of former premier and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat have boycotted the election over what they have described as a "lack of political will to reform".

"I will not vote. The candidates will only serve their own interests," said bearded Aladdin Shawish as he waited for the bus with Ali Madi, a school teacher who insisted "the coming parliament will be identical to the old one".

In contrast with Zarqa, candidates in Amman and Salt, northwest of the capital, have splashed out on their campaigns, serving food and sweets in large tents to anyone prepared to vote for them.

Hope for clean contest

Their efforts do not appear to have won over many people, and have in fact worked against them - the government has announced the arrest of at least six candidates, including the leader of an electoral list, for vote buying.

The arrests prompted faint hope among some voters for a clean contest, but the election for many will still be a lottery.

"I'll try to give my vote to a person who deserves it. I hope they'll work hard on meeting our needs and demands," said Taan Awaisheh, aged 24, from Salt.

"We need to put aside tribalism and racism, then we can vote," said Messef Abbadi, aged 43, who belongs to one of Jordan's largest tribes.

Jordan has established an Independent Elections Commission to oversee the vote and encourage participation, inviting international observers from the European Union, the US-based National Democratic Institute and others to ensure that polls are free and fair.

"I will not vote. I do not trust them [the candidates]," said Riad Awad, aged 44, a carpenter from the Wihdat Palestinian refugee camp in Amman, one of Jordan's largest.

'Cosmetic' election

"They are the same people we've seen in previous parliaments, or new people who know nothing about what we need. What reform? If they wanted to reform, they would have done it a long time ago."

On Friday, 2 000 protesters including Islamists, youths and leftists held a sit-in in Amman, rejecting the election as "cosmetic".

"I cannot think of anyone who deserves my vote. It is not our first election. I don't see why we should expect change when we end up with the same MPs who've done nothing for us in the past," Hashem Hammad from Khreibet Suq in Amman's east said.

"We need jobs and a real fight against corruption and poverty. Can the new parliament do this? I don't think so," the 27-year-old mechanic said.


Read more on:    jordan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Jurassic World trailer is epic!
Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.