AMMAN, Jordan — Jordanians voted Wednesday for a parliament with wider authority, as the king cedes some of his powers to try to prevent simmering dissent from boiling over into a full blown Arab Spring uprising.
The new legislature will choose the prime minister and run day-to-day affairs, powers that used to reside with King Abdullah II. Foreign policy and security matters remain in the hands of the king.
Abdullah has introduced the reforms in a measured manner, trying to manage the pace of change.
Critics charge that the reforms are too mild and the election is not enough of a change. The main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, boycotted the voting.
The 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in the region set off a wave of demonstrations in this usually placid U.S. ally. They have included unprecedented calls for the king to step down, raising alarms about the depth of the unrest.
The protests in Jordan have not been on the scale of the uprisings that toppled leaders in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Tunisia, or the bloody civil war in neighboring Syria.
Nearly 300,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan, some suspected of links to the Syrian regime. Some in Jordan worry that they could be a destabilizing element.
At a polling station at an Amman high school, Islam Qandil, 29, wearing an Islamic niqab covering her whole face except her eyes, said she didn't agree with the opposition boycott. The opposition has "the right to express their views, but the rule in Jordan is fair," she said, expressing trust in the king.
Outside another polling station across town, convenience store clerk Mohammed Abu-Summaqa, 21, said he would not vote.
"Members of parliament will not be able to do anything for us because they are controlled by the king and Cabinet, so why should I vote?" he asked.
- Feds call for judge to disband police in...
- Malia Obama to enter Harvard in 2017 after...
- US once again forced to turn to Russia for...
- Did woman sway boy to kill his dad? Court...
- Confident Trump seeks knockout of Cruz in...
- Monkey bars alert: Playground concussions are...
- South Africa: Rescued lions explore new home...
- Man abandoned 30 years ago tries to find his...
- Ted Cruz ends his bid for Republican... 77
- Utah GOP all in for Cruz, but Trump... 54
- White House: Obama not offended by... 28
- Kasich dropping out; Trump on clear GOP... 26
- Kasich calls for balance on gay rights,... 23
- Rowdy Trump protests portend explosive... 19
- Trump, Clinton all but certain to face... 19
- Trump virtually clinches Republican... 18