Corps of young election observers reports several cases of illegal conduct during election in Jordan
As part of the ARI office’s extensive Local Governance programme a special election project was launched in July 2016 aimed at the parliamentary election held in Jordan in September later that year. The aim was to strengthen the civil society’s and especially young people’s much needed participation in the political process both before the election and in general. More than 70 % of the Jordanian population is below the age of 30.
In cooperation with the Jordanian authorities a locally rooted network of 40 young election observers from the local area were allowed to conduct actual supervision of the election in accordance with the OSCE principles. Thus, the project succeeded in giving scores of young people direct affiliation to the political process in a personal, practical and empowering way. The participants were men and women from universities and civil society organisations throughout the country.
More specifically, the election observers’ corps was tasked with supervising the election and reporting any illegal conduct after the election. In addition, they had a duty on the polling day to report episodes to the election officials in two populous constituencies in Amman and Zarqa, where the teams were stationed.
During the training programme focus was on the scope of the election observers’ task, on how to produce an official election report and on what to focus on at the polling stations. To prepare the election observers for the task the training included both class teaching and role playing, giving them a chance to learn various scenarios. The task also included supervision of the election campaign prior to the election.
- The election observers’ corps reported several cases of irregular conduct on the polling day. On a few occasions the election observers intervened directly and activated the election officials to rectify the illegal conduct at the polling stations.
- Election material from the independent election commission was collected and distributed throughout the country to generate attention to the election and to acquaint especially young people with the system.
- In cooperation with the Jordanian authorities the ARI office prior to the election introduced an outreach initiative targeted at four different universities. Through information campaigns and debate events they succeeded in generating attention to the election.
- Since the parliamentary election the election project has strengthened and expanded its contact with local associations as well as to the UNDP in order to eventually create permanent networks of young volunteers to further strengthening social commitment and political involvement.