Jordan sets Sept 10 date for parliamentary election, state TV says

FILE PHOTO: King of Jordan Abdullah II visits Paris

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) -Jordan's independent electoral commission on Wednesday set Sept. 10 as the date for a parliamentary election after King Abdullah said earlier he hoped the polls would deliver long promised political reforms, state media reported.

The monarch, who visited the electoral commission before the announcement, said the polls would be a major milestone towards trying to modernise the country's political system under revamped laws that encourage licensed parties to run in multi-party elections.

Under the constitution, the nationwide polls are held within four months of the end of a four-year term of parliament that formally ends in November. The country's last election was held in November 2020.

The head of the Independent Election Commission Musa Al Maaytah, who announced the date of the election, said there were more than 5 million eligible voters on its lists.

The election comes as the country is reeling from the impact of the war in Gaza that has hit tourism, a main pillar of the economy, and affected businesses.

Passions run high among Jordanians, many of whom are of Palestinian origin, and the kingdom has witnessed some of the biggest anti-Israel protests in the region.

Under the constitution, most powers rest with King Abdullah, a staunch U.S ally, who appoints governments and can dissolve parliament. The assembly can force a cabinet to resign by a vote of no confidence, but has been largely sidelined by successive governments.

The monarch hopes nascent political parties will help pave the way for governments that emerge from parliamentary majorities.

The contest will take place under an voting system that still favours staunchly tribal constituencies over the more populous cities, which are Islamic and liberal strongholds and highly politicised.

The last election brought limited gains for independent deputies and Islamists, but left the 130-member parliament mostly in the hands of tribal, centrist and pro-government members.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing Michael Georgy, Angus MacSwan and Alex Richardson)