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Voter apathy, pandemic result in low turnout, riots in Jordanian election

With a historic low turnout by voters at Jordan’s parliamentary elections, it is doubtful that the government will pick up the message that a growing majority of Jordanians are becoming indifferent to the role of parliament.

In an indicator of general voter apathy — especially in underrepresented urban areas — less than 30% of Jordan's 4.5 million eligible voters turned out on Nov. 10 to vote for the 130-seat Lower House of parliament. More than 1,600 candidates running on 294 lists contested the elections at a time when the kingdom is facing a spike in coronavirus infections, a shrinking economy and a rising rate of unemployment. Under the law, only voting in person is accepted.

The government had ignored calls on social media to postpone the elections for public health reasons. On the same day of the polls, the country recorded its highest infection and mortality rate — 5,996 positive cases and 91 deaths — putting Jordan at the forefront of countries with the most infections relative to population. Ministry of Health Undersecretary Wael Hiagneh told the official news agency on Nov. 10 that infections related to voting will become known within a week.

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