Islamists lose seats in Jordanian elections
AMMAN (Reuters) - Preliminary results from Jordan's parliamentary elections showed the opposition Islamist party lost more than half its seats in an election it said was marred by fraud.
Islamic Action Front (IAF) candidates won only seven of the 22 seats they fought in Tuesday's elections for the 110-seat assembly, an official source told Reuters.
The IAF won 17 seats in 2003, when it ended a boycott that had turned parliament into a pro-government talking shop and became the only real opposition in the assembly.
Initial figures on Wednesday showed a turnout of 55 percent of 2.4 million eligible voters.
The IAF, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood and by far the largest organised political grouping, was the only party contesting Tuesday's elections. The results consolidated the power of tribal leaders, pro-government candidates and influential businessmen tied to the royal family.
Jamil Abu Bakr, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, told Reuters widespread violations cast doubt on the fairness of the results.
"This is an electoral massacre... violations by far exceeded even the last elections... it will have harmful repercussions on the country's political progress. It will force us to reconsider our participation in future elections," Abu Bakr said.
The government has strongly denied allegations of fraud -- including mass transfers of voters by pro-government candidates to their districts, as well as either deregistration of likely opponents or multiple voting by government supporters.
The Islamists reluctantly contested the elections which they said took place under an election law where districts were tailored to counter its popular support.
The elected legislature wields little real power and although it can introduce legislation most of the laws are drafted by the government.
Tuesday's polls were the second parliamentary vote under the reform-minded monarch King Abdullah who ascended the throne in 1999 in a wave of hopes he would democratise the country.
(editing by Dominic Evans)
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