Jordanians vote in parliamentary elections touted as start of democratization process

Jordanians have started voting in parliamentary elections touted as the start of a democratization process that will see the king hand over considerable powers to the newly chosen legislature.

Abdul-Illah Khatib, who is head of the Independent Electoral Commission, says polling stations opened at 7 a.m. local time (4 a.m. GMT) Wednesday, but voting began later because of technical computer problems.

He says at least 125,000 Jordanians, or 5 percent of the 2.3 million who registered to vote, cast ballots in the first two hours of voting.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan's largest opposition group, is boycotting the polls in protest against an electoral law it says favors pro-king loyalists. Four other smaller leftist parties are also staying away.