Women, Islamists suffer setbacks in election in Jordan

Jordan has announced the results of this week's parliamentary elections, with female candidates and Islamist opposition parties both suffering setbacks

Khalid Al Kalaldeh, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, said the number of female lawmakers dropped from 20 to 15. Fifteen seats are reserved for women under a quota system, and no women were elected in competitive races, the commission said.

In all, voters chose 130 members of the lower house of parliament, with 15 seats reserved for women, nine for Christians and three for minority Chechens and Circassians.

The government in Jordan, a close U.S. ally, is more representative than others in the Middle East, but most power is held by King Abdullah II, who appoints the government and all members of the senate and can dissolve parliament at any time.

The electoral system favors pro-monarchy tribal representatives, businessmen and independents who are loyal to the king.

More than 4.5 million Jordanians were eligible to vote in 23 constituencies. But only 1.38 million people, or 29.9%, voted, down from 36% turnout in 2016.

The election came at a time when the country is dealing with a coronavirus pandemic that has badly hit the economy and its key tourism industry.

The kingdom, which has a population of around 10 million, has confirmed over 126,000 coronavirus cases and nearly 1,500 deaths.