Jordan is gearing up for its second round of speaker elections on December 27th, with an uncertain path forward. The country’s main party, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), will again be vying for the most seats in the Lower House of Parliament, the only elected body in the kingdom. This time around, however, the IAF could face new competition from emerging independent and party-aligned candidates, as well as from an array of splinter groups that have split from the IAF since the last elections in 2013.
This is the first time that Jordan has held multiparty elections since the introduction of a new electoral law in 2016, which saw the number of parliamentary seats nearly double from 150 to 130. The law also gave more power to independent candidates, who can now run in individual constituencies instead of being part of a party list.
There are a number of issues up for debate in the upcoming elections. Economic stagnation, unemployment, rising food prices, and infrastructure development have become more prominent topics on the campaign trail. The IAF has promised to use parliamentary powers to increase oversight of government actions, while independent candidates have promoted policies that focus on boosting local economies.
The election is a major test for Jordan’s democratic system, and will be watched closely as a possible indicator of how the country might fare under its new two-party system. However, as always, the outcome of the elections is hard to predict, since Jordan remains a conservative country with many deep-rooted political divisions.