Loyalists sweep Jordan parliamentary vote

Updated 25 January 2013
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Loyalists sweep Jordan parliamentary vote

AMMAN: Tribal leaders, pro-regime loyalists and independent businessmen swept Jordan’s parliamentary election that was shunned by Muslim Brotherhood, according to preliminary results released yesterday.
Analysts say the new Parliament will now be dominated by loyalists, who will resist pressure for real political reform.
The Arab Spring that began two years ago and toppled four regimes across the region also sparked regular protests in Jordan, where youths and religious groups have been demanding sweeping reforms.
Their protests have become increasingly vocal and, during deadly November rioting over a sharp hike in fuel prices, there were unprecedented calls for the king to step down.
Abdallah II, whose throne is not seriously thought to be under threat, had touted Wednesday’s election as a focal point for his reforms, which he said should pave the way for parliamentary government.
Among his reforms, he said that he plans for the first time to consult MPs before naming a premier, who should in turn then consult with MPs before forming a Cabinet.
But Brotherhood boycotted the election, saying the monarch’s measures fell far short of true democratic change and that he should not have any say at all in naming a prime minister. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) put the final turnout at 56.6 percent of the registered electorate of 2.3 million, but the Brotherhood disputed this figure, saying there had been widespread fraud and vote-buying.
IEC officials said some data entry glitches are delaying the announcement of final results.
“Also there is a problem related to one ballot box that we are trying to solve, before announcing final results,” IEC spokesman Hussein Bani told reporters without elaborating. The results showed that independent candidate Maryam Luzi, an educationist, had won a seat outside the quota system reserving 15 seats for women.
Also among the winners are two women from Amman, Abla Abu Elbeh, secretary general of the leftist Jordanian People’s Democratic Party, and Rula Hroub, an outspoken journalist.
Khalil Atieh, a long-time regime ally, emerged the winner in an Amman constituency, while reformist researcher Mustapha Hamarenh secured a seat for his mainly Christian city of Madaba, near the capital.
At least three candidates, who have been accused by the authorities of vote-buying, won seats. Their cases are still before the courts and if found guilty, they will lose their seats and face several years in jail.


“The turnout does not make any sense. They could have done a better job to make people believe,” Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy leader of the Brotherhood told AFP.
The IEC insisted that its figures were accurate.
Mohammad Abu Rumman, researcher at the University of Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies, agreed that the turnout had been good.


Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

Updated 20 May 2018
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Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized in the West Bank due to complications after minor surgery last week, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
It was the third time Abbas, 82, had been hospitalized in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalized again briefly overnight on Saturday/Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
A Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas went back into hospital again later on Sunday because his temperature was high “so doctors advised that he go back into hospital.”
Two statements were issued by Wafa on Sunday. The first, half an hour after midnight, said Abbas had gone into hospital “for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at Al-Istishari hospital in Ramallah. At the end of the tests, the results turned out to be excellent,” the statement said, and Abbas left hospital.
A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of Al-Istishari hospital, Dr. Saed Sarahneh, said the results of the medical tests were “good” and that his medical condition was “reassuring.”
A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the high temperature may have resulted from a failure of an ear inflammation to heal completely.
In February, Abbas was hospitalized in the United States for medical checks during a trip to address the UN Security Council in New York.
Abbas became Palestinian president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued US-led peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.
He is also chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a position to which he was re-elected unopposed on May 4.