PACE observers: partnership with Jordan’s Parliament on the right track, early elections well administered

Following the invitation of Jordan’s Independent Electoral Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) observed, for the first time, the early elections to the Jordanian House of Representatives which took place on 20 September 2016.

In 2016 the Jordanian Parliament was granted "Partner for Democracy" status with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and committed itself to do everything possible to ensure the elections were conducted according to international standards.

The PACE delegation, led by René Rouquet (France, SOC), was made up of thirteen members from seven European countries and visited Jordan from 17 to 21 September. It met with some of the candidates, the Minister of the Interior, the Secretary General of the Independent Electoral Commission, representatives of civil society and international organisations. On election day six teams of observers were deployed, observing the vote in Amman and its surrounding area, as well as in the governorates of Central Badia, Balqa, Jaresh, Madaba, Ma`an, Karak, Tafileh and Irbid.

The PACE delegation welcomes the professionalism of the Independent Electoral Commission, which organised the poll with integrity and in full transparency. It commends the professionalism and courtesy of the polling station officials that the delegation met during its visit. Jordanians, called upon to organise new elections within a completely new legislative framework, have risen magnificently to this major challenge.

The delegation noted that some aspects of the electoral process could be improved by heeding the advice of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. The election law and its executive instructions should regulate more effectively the issue of the "prolonged election campaign", which continued on voting day right up to the doors of the polling centres. The law should also consider whether the choice of voting method, with a ballot in the form of a small booklet, is the most appropriate in terms of legibility for voters and handling of the counting process. Moreover, PACE welcomes the effort made to ensure transparency during the count by developing the use of a camera, which allowed all observers see the contents of each ballot.

PACE salutes the commitment shown by members of the Jordanian delegation, who participated very actively in its work after obtaining Partner for Democracy status. The Jordanian delegation was able to showcase the development of the democratic process in their country but also helped to make PACE members more aware of the challenges Jordan faces.

In the context of its work with the Parliament of Jordan, PACE continues to actively support the Jordanians in their efforts towards the consolidation of democratic process in their country. PACE is naturally ready to continue working with renewed interest with the new delegation, which it hopes will be designated as soon as possible.

PACE will discuss reports on the parliamentary elections during the October 2016 part-session.

Contact: Alessandro Mancini, tel. + (962) (0) 79 656 55 84 or + 33 6 09 17 61 70, e-mail: alessandro.mancini@coe.int