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Jordanians vote for next Parliament

  |   Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:56 AM
AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Jordan's 17th parliamentary elections kicked off Wednesday with tens of thousands of police securing polling booths across the country, officials said.

Nearly 50,000 police were deployed at polling stations with an additional 10,000 security force members mobilized to deal with emergencies, The Jordan Times said.

Some 2.3 million eligible voters are expected to cast ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Each voter will cast a ballot for a candidate running in the local constituency and a second ballot for candidates running in the national contest.

Some 1,425 candidates -- 606 candidates in 45 local constituencies and 819 in 61 national blocs -- are competing, including 191 women, the Ammon News website said.

Unlike Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, the Islamists constitute only a small fraction in the elections, with just 22 candidates running, the Times said. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists decided to boycott the elections, saying the system favors tribal areas, the paper said.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said his government will submit its resignation to King Abdullah immediately after the election day, the official news agency Petra reported.

The newly established Independent Elections Committee is supervising the elections, the newspaper said. Committee President Abdullah Khatib said measures had been taken to ensure voters are able to exercise their rights.

More than 7,000 local and international observers from the European Union and non-government organizations were to monitor the polls, Ammon News said.

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