Jordan polls: Muslim Brotherhood and women make gains

  • Published
Jordanian woman shows inked finger after voting (20/09/16)Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Female MPs will have a higher proportion of seats than before

Islamists have won seats in Jordan's parliament after years of boycott, in polls which also elected record numbers of female MPs, initial results show.

The Muslim Brotherhood's party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), looks to share at least 16 out of 130 seats as part of a new political alliance.

The IAF refused to contest the previous two elections, in protest at the electoral system.

Tuesday's election also saw at least 20 women returned, latest figures show.

Under Jordanian law, 15 seats are automatically reserved for female MPs. A reduction in the number of MPs as part of reforms announced last year means women will have a higher overall proportion of seats than before.

The Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) return to parliament follows a crackdown on the movement by Jordanian authorities, fearful of the spread of militant Islam in the region.

The Jordanian MB has substantial grassroots popularity and is the country's main opposition organisation.

Key leaders have been arrested in recent years, and five months ago the group's headquarters was shut down.

Ahead of the elections, the IAF joined Christians and other candidates to form an alliance called the National Coalition for Reform (NCR).

Despite the NCR's relatively strong showing, executive power resides with the king, who has the right to appoint and dismiss the prime minister and cabinet and dissolve the National Assembly.