Jordan holds parliamentary elections amid pandemic, economic crisis

Amman, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- Jordanians headed to vote for a new parliament on Tuesday, in elections that come as the kingdom records a rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

Over 4.6 people are eligible to elect the 130-member House of Representatives.

Polling stations opened their doors early in the day and are set to close at 7 pm, however; authorities said that voting hours might be extended by up to two hours due to strict measures imposed to curb the current virus outbreak.

Turnout is expected to be low amid criticism over how the government is handling the pandemic in the kingdom.

More than 53,000 security personnel were deployed across the country this morning to provide protection for the polling stations and monitor compliance to the health precautions, director of the Public Security Directorate Hussein Hawatmeh told state television.

A total of 1,693 candidates, including 364 women, are running for the elections.

King Abdulllah II dissolved the outgoing chamber at the end of September and ordered the new elections be held despite the pandemic.

The polling process is completely governed by the Independent Election Commission (IEC), which was created in 2011 with the aim of ensuring free and fair elections.

The IEC said it has taken precautions to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

Voters are required to wear face masks before entering polling stations, and each person is to be handed gloves and a pen.

A four-day lockdown across the country is scheduled to begin on Tuesday night, when people will not be allowed to leave their houses, increasing the pressure on an economy expected to decline by 3.7 percent in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Jordan has recorded some 110,000 coronavirus infections and 1,295 virus deaths, 98 percent of them during the past two months, according to figures released by the health ministry. EFE-EPA


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