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Jordan’s Election Law: Reinforcing Barriers to Democracy

In: Middle East Law and Governance
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Abstract

Since the 2016 introduction of a proportional open-list voting system to Jordan’s parliamentary elections, the Jordanian government has faced ongoing demands for reform. In response, the government has continually pointed to the many liberal democracies in Europe that use similar electoral systems. However, the issue is not that an undemocratic system is in place but rather that the system is unconducive to democratic reform given Jordan’s broader socio-political environment. This legal comment will explore the key facets of Jordan’s 2016 election law, discussing how the system – which could be effective in other contexts – impedes political change in Jordan and thus maintains the same patronage-fueled electoral dynamics that have prevailed since the reintroduction of parliamentary life in Jordan three decades ago.

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