Islamists, women emerge strong in Jordan’s polls

Sep 23, 2016, 7:33 AM EDT
(Source: Vyacheslav Argenberg/flickr)
(Source: Vyacheslav Argenberg/flickr)

In a sign of growing relevance of women in Jordanian politics, female candidates secured 20 out of 130 parliamentary seats in the country’s elections held on Tuesday. The Muslim Brotherhood's party, the Islamic Action Front (I.A.F.), which boycotted last two elections over what it believed to be a flawed electoral system, also made a strong comeback, winning 16 seats with the new political alliance.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which enjoys grassroots popularity in the Kingdom, forged a broad alliance with Christians and other candidates ahead of the polls, writes the BBC. The movement recently came under attack from the Jordanian authorities, with several of its leaders arrested and offices locked down to prevent the spread of militant Islam in the region.

Dr. Amer Bani Amer, director of Al-Hayat Center, a civil society group that monitors elections, says that the latest electoral shake-up strengthened political parties, encouraged voting based on policy matters rather than tribal allegiance and benefitted women at several levels, reports The Guardian.

Layla Naffa, director of programs at the Arab Women Organization, an N.G.O. that fights for women empowerment in Jordan, attributed the victory of women candidates to the strong performance by high-profile female M.P.s in the previous parliament.