2013 Parliamentary Elections

Introduction
Overall Turnout Compared with Previous Elections
Turnout in Main Cities Compared with Previous Elections
Election Law
National Lists
The Independent Election Commission

The 2013 Parliamentary Elections were the first to be held under the new Election Law and were managed, supervised, and conducted by an Independent Election Commission to ensure that the electoral process met the highest standards of integrity, fairness, and transparency.

Electoral procedures were carried out according to the best international practices including acquiring a voting card, using indelible ink specific for voting, using computers and electronic systems in the voting process, and adopting voting procedures for illiterate voters to secure secrecy of the vote.

Many local and international monitors were present including the European Union, National Democratic Institute, IRI, Carter Centre, OIC, and the Arab League. Only eleven cases were referred to the judiciary for charges of vote buying and holding voters’ identification cards.

For the first time, the Election Law adopted the concept of proportional representation on the national level to pave the way for the emergence of political blocs and coalitions. This will help in consolidating partisan work and spreading democratic culture.

In total, eighteen of twenty-three parties participated in the elections.  Voter registration reached 70% while the voter turnout was 56.7%.  A record number of 1425 candidates competed, including 191 women.  Ninety-two of one hundred and fifty seats went to first time members of parliament with eighteen seats going to female candidates.  Jordanians of Palestinian origin also doubled their representation from sixteen to thirty-three seats.

Overall turnout compared with previous elections

2003

2007

2010

2013

58.6%

57.1%

53%

56.6%

Turnout in main cities compared with previous elections

Governorate

2003

2007

2010

2013

Amman

42.4%

47.5%

34.2%

43.5%

Zarqa

54.7%

42.8%

36.2%

47.9%

Irbid

66.3%

61.6%

61.9%

59.4%

Election Law

The new Election Law addressed a number of legal and practical loopholes in the previous election law; such as the virtual districts and their consequences. The new Election Law puts an end to the one-vote-system and grants voters two votes each; the first vote is on the constituency level and the second is for the national level, known as the National List. For the first time, the Election Law adopts the concept of proportional representation on the national level to pave the way for the emergence of political blocs and coalitions, which will help in consolidating partisan work and spreading democratic culture. The law enhanced the presence of women and their involvement in the legislative branch by increasing the quota of seats to fifteen. On a number of occasions His Majesty has indicated that the Election Law, in addition to other laws and legislations, could be developed by future parliaments - regardless of their compositions - to ensure further developments in the reform path and democratic experience. More than 2.27 million citizens -70% of eligible voters - registered to vote. The number of candidates for the recent parliamentary elections is the largest in Jordan’s history (1425 candidates). According to opinion polls and surveys, 61% of Jordanians believe that Jordan is heading in the right direction, and 75% believe that political parties and movements should demand change through parliament and not on the street.

National Lists

The concept of national list has been introduced in the Election Law for the first time.  The National List encourages many candidates to assemble and agree on programmes and build understandings accordingly.  This list helps in developing partisan life, as it constitutes an opportunity for political parties to nominate candidates to run for elections and to ally with other parties or political powers under joint programmes and platforms. The National List serves as a melting pot, where citizens from different areas and backgrounds are coming together; solidifying national unity and the social fabric along with moving the society from narrow identities to a collective political identity. It compensates the shortage of parliamentary seats allocated for some areas of high population density, as their candidates can also run for elections on the national list and garner more seats. The 27-seat national list is a great stepping-stone and sets a reform trajectory that develops the Election Law with each parliamentary cycle to increase number of seats of national lists as political parties and democratic culture develop.

The Independent Election Commission

The establishment of the Independent Election Commission is an important outcomne of the constitutional amendments, granting it the authority to supervise and manage the parliamentary elections through every stage, and to supervise any other elections decided upon by the Council of Ministers. 

The Independent Election Commission showed the highest degrees of professionalism, transparency, and readiness in the preparations for the electoral process. It also provided practical guarantees for the integrity of the electoral process through instructions, legislations, and procedures on the ground. 

The Independent Election Commission welcomed different bodies - both local and international - intending to monitor the electoral process, and pledged to facilitate their tasks. The European Union and the Arab League, among others, announced their intention to send missions to monitor the election process in the Kingdom. 

The commission is working with complete openness to establish a real partnership with the different active bodies concerned with the electoral process whether they are civil society organizations, youth or women's organizations, political parties, or other concerned bodies. 

The parliamentary elections were monitored by 28 observation missions from local, Arab, and international organizations, in addition to 12 Arab and foreign embassies, and the UNDP. 

The new Election Law strengthened the integrity of the elections through its articles, which ensure fair and transparent elections. These include:

  • Acquiring a voting card.
  • Using indelible ink specifically for voting. 
  • Using computers and electronic systems in the voting process. 
  • Toughening punishments related to electoral crimes, especially political money and attempts to influence voters' will.
  • Adopting specific voting procedures for illiterate voters to secure secrecy of the vote. 
  • The judiciary now has the sole authority to examine electoral contestations instead of the Lower House.

 

See our Infographic on the Overview of Election Results