- Election CoverageReform Issues
- November 17, 2007
- 9 minutes read
Jordan’s MB Warns against Rigging Coming Parliamentary Elections
The Islamic Action Front Party (IAF) accused Jordanian government of planning for rigging the parliamentary elections scheduled to be held within a week .
The IAF”s parliamentary election committee called on government again to provide guarantees that the coming parliamentary elections will be fair, voicing its worries that the state of “ambiguity and suspicion continue to overshadow government measures in this regard”.
The IAF committee chief, Hikmat Al Rawashda, demand, in a press conference that the committee held, the government to be open to civil society institutions and to allow them to have ” a real and full supervision starting from electronic contact centers to be sure that everything is ready and to be sure that these centers aren”t exploited for rigging the election results and to monitor all ballot and vote-count centres”. He stressed that the government “shows in the media outlets” that it is interested in holding free and fair elections. However, it ” hasn”t given any practical or tangible steps that restore citizens trust that the election process will be fair and transparent”.
For his part, Zaki Bin Arshid, Secretary-General of the Islamic Action Front Party said the government ” backtracked ” from its promises of allowing civil society organizations, replacing this with ceremonial visits to polling stations and vote-count centres. He pointed out that the government restricted the monitoring ” a remote observation without allowing observers to enter balloting and vote count centres under pretext of groundless claims. “If the government is confident that it will hold fair elections, why does it show this suspicion in dealing with the supervision of civil community institutions”, said the IAF leader. Regarding the issue of electronic contact, Bin Arshid said that ” there are technical difficulties and problems facing this new method”, adding that it ” may develop malfunctions due to the huge pressures during the voting process, and consequently causing delays in the election process or it may curb the number of voters”.
Bin Arshid voiced his fears that the electronic contact may be used to the benefit of or against some candidates “, specially ” as under the expected state-run supervision, excluding supervision from candidates or civil society institutions” and ” without using voter paper rolls”. Add to this the fact that “all state run schools in the kingdom are connected to this system and some of these schools will not be used as polling stations. This actually may make it easier to pass many names and rig the elections without any supervision”, because the electronic contact ” makes the Ministry of Education a basis in this process, and was proved to be weak in the past years in the Ministry of Education”, said Bin Arshid.
“There is no guarantee that the process of electronic contacting face huge problems and rigging the election results”, he said, criticizing the government scrapping of non-permanent ink that ” may help in controlling the process and in preventing repeated voting”. He also criticized the government”s refusal to hand over voter rolls to candidates” although there is no legal foundation for this refusal”, pointing out that ” some government vetted candidates have reportedly been given these voter rolls. Bin Arshid criticized also “the security services” illegal actions of summoning- in some governorates specially in Agloun- many supporters and sympathizers of our candidates and exercising pressure on them to vote for other candidates and not to support our candidates”.
Bin Arshid said in a statement to Ikhwanweb that:” Despite all government threats of punishing any one using illegal actions in the elections like vote-buying, but we haven”t seen any real measures in this regard, although we know that the government can spot hose schemers through security services, if it has the real intention to do so”.
Bin Arshid said that the party is worried about news of ” issuing voting IDs for ineligible and repeating names of some voters and that there are machines which are used in adding the constituency to the civil affairs identity for those not registered in the voter rolls”.
Bin Arshid demanded using the non-permanent ink and piercing voting cards and other measures that may secure not repeating voting. He also demanded the government hand over voter rolls to all candidates in every constituency and use paper (hard copy) voter rolls on the voting day in election committees. He said that the government should prevent the security services from intervening in the election process and to stop summoning citizens to exercise pressures on them. He also demanded cracking down on phenomenon of vote buying and to cancel the illegal mass transfer of names to certain constituencies to the benefit of some candidates.
“Our country can”t endure any abuse in these elections”, he said warning that such illegal measures ” may deepen despair from any reform, and may distort the image of Jordan domestically and internationally.”
Bin Arshid confirmed that the party wants the parliamentary elections to move smoothly, fairly and transparently for the sake of homeland, people and to reach a successful political action”, citing the huge pressures that the party faced in the previous municipal elections which were marred by violations and riggings.