Jordanians elect new Parliament amid voter apathy

Tribal and pro-government politicians were expected to sweep the polls in Jordan's parliamentary elections Tuesday, touted as a vital step toward homegrown democracy in this conservative US ally. But voter apathy was strong. The 1,400 polling stations across the country closed after 12 hours of balloting, except in the capital, election spokesman Saad Shihab said. Overall turnout reached a required 51 percent, but election officials said balloting was extended by two hours in most districts of the capital, Amman, because of the low turnout. "Why vote for people who can do nothing, but let things get worse," said Ghassan Khairy, a banker in Amman. "Prices have soared, living conditions have deteriorated and we're just getting poorer," he said.