GAM denies claims of meddling in engineers’ elections

AMMAN — Candidates on the “White List” for the Jordan Engineers Association’s (JEA) elections have accused the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) of interfering in the upcoming polls, a claim municipality officials have denied.

The White List, which represents Islamists running for the JEA council, charged that “official interference” from the municipality has resulted in the cancellation of a prearranged event that was supposed to take place at Ras Al Ain Gallery.

“The Amman mayor issued an order to cancel a booking for a hall at Ras Al Ain Gallery hours before the White List electoral meeting,” they said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“We urge official parties to remain impartial, and stick to their legal and national duties, and to stop interfering with the course of the ongoing elections,” the statement added.

GAM Spokesperson Mazen Farajin denied the claims, stressing that the gallery, which is owned by the municipality, had been booked on false pretences and that White List members were not transparent in their meeting’s programme.

“The gallery was not aware that the meeting would be pushing the party’s agenda. We were told that the event was strictly cultural, aimed at discussing architecture in Jordan,” Farajin said.

“We cannot host… electoral meetings at municipality-owned places, because we could be accused of bias towards specific parties.”

The gallery’s director, Eslam Deano, who was in direct contact with the Islamists, said the booking of the hall was confirmed according to the programme presented by the White List, but the agenda was later deemed inaccurate.

“We discussed the event’s agenda orally and as it was presented as a purely cultural event, a booking was made. However, the official letter that was sent to us on Sunday was not compatible with what we discussed. The letter was somewhat promotional, outlining the party’s previous achievements and their future plans.”

“We follow specific policies; therefore, we told them we cannot promote electoral agendas under any circumstances and that we would have to cancel the event,” Deano told The Jordan Times.

This piece was published in The Jordan Times.

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