Jordan will hold parliamentary elections on 10 November 2020 following a royal decree issued by King Abdullah II on Wednesday, 29 July 2020.
The Board of Commissioners of the Independent Election Commission decided on the November date for polls in the midst of an economic downturn due to Covid-19 and heightened tension over an Israeli plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
It also comes in the shadow of the government’s crackdown on civil liberties, namely the arrest of 13 leading members of the Teachers Union last week, on 25 July 2020, ordering its offices closed for two years.
The consequence of the forthcoming elections signifies the ending of the current parliament, which was elected on 20 September 2016, and has a 17% approval rate per periodic national polls.
Some argue the call for elections is a sign of stability on the part of the Jordanian government. Others are less hopeful.
“At present I am not optimistic that elections could produce a different parliament unless the youth realize that they must act to change those who will be in charge of setting their future,” said Rami Adwan, who works to promote voter engagement with youth and women.
Regarding women’s representation, efforts have failed to increase the women’s quota in office from 12 to 17% in the country.
“Our only hope for more women in parliament now is for more women to run for office and for women and men to be more involved in the electoral process and choose women, rather than follow tradition…” said Layla Nafaa, an advocate for women representation in government.
Jordan’s parliament has legislative powers, but the majority of MPs rely on family and tribal allegiances. Most powers, constitutionally, rest with the king, who appoints governments and has the final say over new laws.