E.U. observers to monitor Jordan's January elections

Dec 20, 2012, 6:25 AM EST

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — A European Union official says the bloc's observers will monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections in Jordan for the first time in the country's history.

The chief of the EU observers' mission to Jordan, David Martin, told reporters on Thursday in Amman that he hopes the Jan. 23 poll will "contribute" to Jordan's democratic development.

Martin, who is also a lawmaker in the European Parliament, says 140 EU observers from the bloc's 27 member states will be monitoring the vote and the pre-election campaigning, which starts on Saturday.

The European observers were invited by Jordan's Independent Electoral Commission. The Washington-based International Republican Institute and other international groups have monitored past elections in the kingdom.

Jordan's powerful Muslim Brotherhood is boycotting the vote after King Abdullah changed the country's election law.