On November 10, Jordan will hold a parliamentary referendum

In the wake of continuing struggles to curb the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Jordan goes to the polls on November 10 to elect a new Parliament.

While some campaigners called for the postponement of the polls, raising questions about the increase in spread of viruses, the government claimed that the elections were moving ahead. Interestingly, in an effort to curtail the transmission of the infection, political campaigning has now switched to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Earlier in September, Parliament was dissolved after Jordan’s Minister of Political and Legislative Affairs, Musa Al-Maaytah, called for immediate elections. Under Jordanian rule, new elections must be held within four months of Parliament being dissolved.

On October 12, King Abdullah II of Jordan issued a royal decree appointing Bisher al-Khasawneh as the country’s new Prime Minister as well as Minister of Defence. Al-Khasawneh vowed to reform Jordan’s struggling economy in the Hashemite Kingdom after taking the oath of office.

The current cabinet of Khasawneh consists of 32 ministers, eight of whom have been retained from Omar al-Razzaz’s previous administration, including the senior finance minister (Mohamad al-Ississ) and the foreign minister (Ayman al-Safadi).

When much of the powers remain with the King of Jordan under the Constitution of the country, many in the country see the Parliament as a rubber-stamp assembly. He is eligible to name a prime minister, a cabinet and a constitution composed largely of traders, pro-government tribal leaders and former security officials.

Meanwhile, Jordan ‘s nearly 4.5 million registered electors will cast their ballots to nominate their members to the 130 parliamentary seats. For the polling, observers predict a poor turnout, bearing in mind the troubling surge in the country’s COVID-19 incidents. The government has mobilised more than 40,000 security forces across all 1,880 polling stations in the prevalent circumstances to ensure smooth operations.

Due to the pandemic constraints that have led to increased unemployment and poverty in the region, Jordan is struggling with the worst economic fallout in decades.

A coronavirus-battered economy that is heavily dependent on foreign assistance will have to confront the newly-appointed members of Parliament. One of the key priorities of the Jordan administration would be to restructure the debt of the government, which, as stated, is estimated at over 100 percent of the gross domestic product ( GDP). Jordan ‘s economy was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as the nation lost nearly $ 3 billion in primary tourism sales in the first three quarters of 2020.

According to news, in an attempt to minimise the spread of COVID-19, the Jordanian government is likely to enforce a five-day national lockout on November 11, the day after the parliamentary elections.