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Facts and figures on Jordan's elections

Wednesday - 1/23/2013, 9:00am  ET

The Associated Press

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Here are some facts and figures on Jordan's parliamentary election, being held on Wednesday:

THE SYSTEM: The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the two-chamber Parliament, is elected once every four years. But the king dissolved the previous parliament last year, halfway through its term, under pressure from street protesters who accused the legislature of being docile.

The Chamber of Notables, or the Upper House, is comprised of 75 members appointed by the king.

The 150-seat lower house approves laws and monitors government performance. But the king, who still enjoys significant powers under the constitution, can dissolve parliament and rule by decree.

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ELECTORATE: About 2.3 million of 3.3 million eligible voters are registered to vote. Of the total registered voters, 52 percent are women in a country of nearly 6 million. Around 500,000 military, police and security personnel are not allowed to vote. By tradition, the royal family doesn't vote.

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POLITICAL GROUPS: Eighteen small and fractured political parties -- a mix of right, center, left and Islamist leaning -- are fielding candidates on a joint party ballot.

Other candidates -- also a mix of right, center, left and Islamist leaning -- are running as independents.

Five other licensed groups, including the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and the largest and most organized opposition group, are boycotting the polls. The Islamic Action Front boycotted the polls two other times since 1997. This time, however, two party members broke ranks with the group and are running as independents. The four other groups boycotting include are communists and Arab nationalists.


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