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The New Arab Staff

Jordan king announces nationwide election for 10 November despite economic, coronavirus woes

King Abdullah has increased powers since 2016 constitutional changes [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 July, 2020

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Jordanians will go to the polls on 10 November for parliamentary elections.
Jordan's King Abdullah II decreed that national elections will be held on 10 November, state media reported on Wednesday, as the country reels from the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The vote will decide the make-up of the Jordanian parliament, which has some legislative powers but with ultimate power resting with the king.

The royal decree ratified later on Wednesday the kingdom's election body.

"The Board of Commissioners of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Wednesday announced that parliamentary elections will be held on November 10th later this year," Petra news agency reported.

The election is at a critical time for Jordan, with the lockdowns imposed due to the coronavirus crisis earlier this year having deep economic ramifications for the kingdom.

The country's private and tourism sectors were battered by the nationwide curfews earlier this year, but were successful in stopping the spread of the virus.

It has also coincided with claims that King Abdullah has used the curbs on civil liberties to clamp down on dissent with teachers union leaders arrested last week over threats of strike action.

Read also: Child dies, 700 sick in Jordan mass food poisoning

Constitutional changes in 2016 also granted the king absolute powers over key political areas such as the judiciary and security.

Two weeks ago, Jordan's courts also abolished the local Muslim Brotherhood political affiliate, the Islamic Action Front, which was generally tolerated by the regime but had boycotted two recent elections.

There were questions over whether this year's elections would take place due to the coronavirus crisis.

It is also timed to take place around the US elections, with Jordan's relations with Washington deteriorating under President Donald Trump, particularly over his support for Israel's annexation of parts of the West Bank.

Such a move would be highly unpopular in the kingdom, where around over half the population is of Palestinian descent, and increase demands for Jordan's leadership to end relations with Israel.

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