Over two million eligible Jordanian voters are getting ready to elect a parliament on Tuesday (November 9th) despite a boycott by the country's largest opposition group, the Islamic Action Front.
The Jordanian government has put the final touches on the technical and administrative preparations for the Tuesday elections.
During a tour of the elections operations headquarters on Sunday, Prime Minister Samir Rifai vowed free and fair elections.
"November 9th will be a day for all Jordanians to celebrate this democratic achievement and should be a source of pride for all Jordanians," Rifai was quoted as saying by the Jordan Times.
Rifai expressed confidence the Jordanian citizens will observe their "constitutional responsibility to participate in the elections."
The prime minister on Monday said November 9th will be a public holiday, calling on all sectors and companies to "fulfil their national duty by enabling their employees to vote."
The turnout will be "within the typical range for Jordanian elections", said Samih Maaytah, adviser to the Prime Minister and spokesman for the parliamentary elections. He described the election campaigning as "active and good."
Of 763 candidates in the upcoming Jordanian parliamentary elections, 85 are candidates representing 15 licensed political parties. The rest are independents, though some are backed by political parties without being members.
The 15 participating parties are divided along two fronts, the opposition (4 parties) and national (12 parties), with the opposition group running under the name of the National Democratic List.
Conspicuous in their absence are the two parties boycotting the elections, The Islamic Action Front (IAF), the biggest political party in the Kingdom, and the Democratic Popular Unity Party (Unity), who have decided that participation is futile under an electoral law based on the principle of "one vote."
The Arab Baath opposition party is participating in the vote but has fielded no candidates of its own.
IAF secretary-general Hamza Mansour justified the boycott of the elections as "a political act and a logical consequence of the political impasse, deterioration of economic and social conditions, swelling poverty, unemployment, and high indebtedness."
However, the Secretary-General of the United Jordanian Front, Abdul Razzak Tbeishat stressed the importance of active participation in the elections by political parties, even though his party does not approve of the Election Law.
The high number of party lists represents a "new platform-oriented political experience which could prove beneficial to partisan and political life in Jordan", said political researcher Radwan al-Majal. He said that the boycott by the Islamists could have led to this higher participation.
"These parliamentary elections party lists represent a broad spectrum of political hues dominated by a tribal flavour," said political writer Rakan Saaydah.
Ahmad Safasfa, a 27-year-old nurse, echoed this view. He said that he would vote for the tribal candidate regardless of any other consideration, because "the people of my area expect more services from their region's member in the House of Representatives."
The Jordanian parliament consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives, whose 120 members are elected every four years, and the Senate, comprising 60 members appointed by the king.