Jordan arrests party leader days ahead of elections
Jordanian authorities announced on Saturday the arrest of a prominent candidate and party leader days ahead of parliamentary elections, dpa reported.
According to a judicial source, Jordanian officials late Friday arrested Mohammed al-Khushman, president of the centrist National Union Party and candidate in Wednesday's parliamentary polls.
In a statement released late Saturday, the Amman prosecutor general announced that Khushman was detained for a 14-day period for using money to "sway in the influence of voters."
Khushman became the fourth Jordanian candidate to be detained for alleged election fraud this month and the second in less than 24 hours.
Also Saturday, officials arrested former parliamentarian and Amman candidate Ghazi Aliyan for suspected involvement in "vote buying." According to sources close the case, Aliyan is facing charges of offering up to 75 dollars for votes.
Rampant vote buying has reportedly emerged in the days leading up to Jordan's parliamentary elections, with candidates reportedly offering food, heating gas and up to 1,000 dollars in return for citizens' votes.
The practice violates Jordanian law and carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison if convicted.
More than 1,400 candidates are standing for 150 parliament seats in what is to mark Jordan's first elections since the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.
King Abdullah II has highlighted the elections as the centrepiece of the Jordan's reform process, this month that the incoming parliament will form the country's first-ever elected government.
In addition to alleged voter fraud, the polls have been marred by a boycott by the Muslim Brotherhood - Jordan's largest political force. Islamists are boycotting in protest of electoral laws that they claim favour regime loyalists at the expense of political parties.
Despite the boycott, some 70 per cent of Jordan's 3 million eligible voters have registered to cast ballots on election day.