Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Municipal elections today

Country wide elections are being held today in accordance with the recently passed municipalities’ law. The government insists that it will be impartial, while many observers are worried about government interference. Specifically, two issues are cited. The first is that registration committees allowed for large scale vote transfers for specific candidates. Aggrieved candidates had a chance to object to any voter transfer, but few did because they were all involved in transferring voter registrations, and nobody wanted to rock the boat.

The second issue is the decision to allow military personnel to vote. There is concern that the soldiers will be ordered to vote for specific candidates. It is not obvious how this order can be enforced. Anyway, the IAF is complaining about it, as per the usual whining. They are threatening to withdraw from the elections today. Presumably they will withdraw if they lose. What courage!

Some people are complaining about the lack of substance in the campaigning, and the dominance of personal and tribal considerations rather than any programs. It is a subtle reference to the weakness of participation of political parties. The political parties blame the one vote election law. In reality, few political parties are interested in the details of local government or the day to day problems of people. They are more interested in liberating Palestine and Iraq, and not picking up garbage, building parks or paving streets.

There is a lot of interest by women in this election. The 20% quota has energized women’s organizations, and I think that a fair number will win outside the quota system.

More later.



At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BBC has it that the IAF has gone ahead and declared a boycott of the election - thoughts? How well do you think they'd have done in Amman if all seats had been open for election, as in the other districts? Do you feel that there are any other organized groups that might constitute an alternative to the IAF? I'm really interested to hear your take on this.

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

You may note the subsequent post where I mentioned the "boycot", which happened after they realized they were losing.

There are no organized alternatives to the IAF. Most people vote for any independent who doesn't happen to be an Islamist.


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