The FINANCIAL -- Observers from the European Union on Friday praised as "transparent and
credible" this week's Jordanian general election, after the Islamist
opposition alleged it had been marred by fraud.
"Polling, counting and tabulation of results in the 23 January parliamentary election were, despite minor glitches, well-administered," said David Martin, head of the 80-strong EU mission.
"Election day was calm and peaceful despite sporadic local violent incidents," he said in a statement.
On the downside, Martin said that "substantial deficiencies in the election law affect, however, universality of voter participation and equality of votes."
Preliminary results show tribal leaders, pro-regime loyalists and independent businessmen are set to sweep Wednesday's election in Jordan, where the prime minister is chosen by the king.
As EUbusiness said, the vote was boycotted by the Muslim Brotherhood, which said King Abdullah II's plans for a parliamentary government fell far short of true democratic change and that he should have no say in naming a premier.
"Vote-buying and fake voter cards were very clear. We will prove that our boycott was the right decision," Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy leader of the Brotherhood, told AFP.
But the Independent Election Commission insisted on Thursday that its figures were accurate.
Analysts said the new Jordanian parliament would be dominated by loyalists who would resist pressure for any real political reform.