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TMCNet:  Gov't asks Islamists to back up election fraud claims

[January 24, 2013]

Gov't asks Islamists to back up election fraud claims

AMMAN, Jan 24, 2013 (Jordan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Officials on Wednesday called on the Muslim Brotherhood to come forward with evidence of alleged voter fraud after the movement issued a report claiming widespread irregularities in the parliamentary polls.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour encouraged the movement to come forward with potential cases of voter fraud or vote buying, stressing that authorities will take all measures to follow up on complaints to "fully implement the law".

"Whether it is today or tomorrow... candidates and voters cannot evade the law," the premier said.

Ensour's comments came after the Islamist movement issued a report claiming that Wednesday's polls were marred by irregularities ranging from tampered-with ballot boxes to forged voter IDs.

In the report, compiled by monitoring teams dispatched by the Brotherhood across the country, the Islamist movement accused officials of inflating voter turnout figures, claiming that 24.8 per cent of registered voters had cast their ballots rather than the 56.5 per cent announced by the Independent Elections Commission (IEC).

"We have definitive proof that these elections have been a failure and that officials are doing everything they can to cover up this failure," Zaki Bani Rsheid, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, told The Jordan Times.

According to Islamist leaders, the movement plans to release a fully detailed report compiling the supposed infractions next week.

Officials disputed the Islamists' claims, insisting that the figures gathered by the IEC are accurate.

"We have over 11,000 international and local monitors across the country eyeing every single tally," said Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Samih Maaytah.

Nevertheless, the government said it would take the Islamist movement's claims "seriously".

"No matter whether voter turnout is 1 per cent or 100 per cent, the only factor that will render these elections successful is their transparency," Maaytah said.

___ (c)2013 the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) Visit the Jordan Times (Amman, Jordan) at www.jordantimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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