Jordanians to head to polls for parliamentary elections

Jordanians will head to polls for the country’s 19th parliamentary elections on Tuesday amid a spike of COVID-19 infections, coupled with high unemployment and economic slowdowns.

Under the stress of more than 3,000 daily new coronavirus cases, Jordan’s Independent Election Commission recently announced that 45,000 officers and necessary measures have been put in place to ensure voters’ safety and high voter turnout.

Besides, the Jordanian government prepares to impose a lockdown after Tuesday’s votes to prevent gatherings and celebrations.

Around 4.5 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballots to select their candidates for the 130-member Lower House.

In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, the polls will be held amid a rise in unemployment and surge in the country’s public debt coupled with a decline in the economy.

According to Jordan’s Finance Ministry, the total public debt in Jordan amounted to 31.394 billion dinars (about 44 billion U.S. dollars) through the end of the first four months of 2020, while it amounted to 30.076 billion dinars at the end of 2019.

In parallel, Jordan’s unemployment rate reached 23 percent in the second quarter of 2020, up by 3.8 percent from the same period last year, according to the Department of Statistics.

Jordan Economic Forum also predicted the unemployment rate to stand at 25 percent by the end of 2020.