Jordan to Hold Parliamentary Elections Amid Rising COVID Cases, Economic Uncertainty

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A woman walks past posters of candidates, ahead of parliamentary elections which will be held on November 10, in Amman, Jordan, November 3, 2020.
A woman walks past posters of candidates, ahead of parliamentary elections which will be held on November 10, in Amman, Jordan, November 3, 2020.Credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/ REUTERS

Jordanians will vote for a new parliament on Tuesday, in polls that come as the kingdom struggles with a rising number of coronavirus infections.

More than 4.6 million people are registered to elect the 130-member House of Representatives. Turnout is expected to be low, however, amid widespread criticism of the government's handling of the pandemic.

Some are angry that the polls are going ahead at all, given the kingdom has imposed frequent weekend lockdowns, extended a night-time curfew and closed schools and some business activities.

Such sporadic restrictions have increased the pressure on the embattled economy, which is largely dependant on aid.

A four-day lockdown will begin on Tuesday night, when people will not be allowed to leave their houses. The government said the measure is to prevent large gatherings and celebrations by the winning candidates.

Jordan has recorded some 110,000 coronavirus infections and 1,295 people have died of the virus, 98 percent of them during the past two months.

To encourage voters, the Independent Election Commission said it has taken precautions to ensure social distancing and prevent overcrowding.

Jordanian election officials check ballot boxes for the parliamentary elections which will be held on November 10, Amman, Jordan, November 8, 2020.Credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/ REUTERS

Face masks are required for voters to enter polling stations and each person is to be given gloves and a pen.

Voters' IDs are to be scanned electronically and individuals will not dip their fingers in ink, the usual measure to prevent people from casting multiple ballots. Instead, officials will mark voters' fingers using a dropper or spray.

Polls open at 7 A.M. (12 A.M. EST) and are to close 12 hours later, although a two-hour extension is possible.

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