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The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.


Jordan -- MP Insaf Al Khawaldeh.jpg

قراءة في عربي

Since early 2011, Jordanian activists and political groups have organized regular protests demanding change to the country’s political and economic landscape. Activists, political parties, opposition movements and even members of Jordan’s tribal communities have called for an end to corruption, greater empowerment for elected officials and political competition. In response, King Abdullah II has changed appointed governments, revised laws governing public gatherings and political activity, and amended the constitution. The country’s Jan. 23 legislative elections were held under a revised electoral law and were overseen by the country’s first Independent Election Commission (IEC).

While many of these steps reflect protesters’ demands, they have not quelled discontent. Moreover, the effect of the Syrian crisis and the influx of refugees, coupled with the country’s already strained economic resources, have added to Jordan’s internal challenges. Many Jordanians continue to call for widespread reforms both in regular protests and online media.

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Strengthening Women's Political Participation

NDI has conducted candidate training programs for women in Jordan for every election cycle since 1997. In 2006, NDI worked closely with women activists to launch the Women Helping Women Network, an organization that seeks to promote the importance of women’s political participation across Jordan.

In preparation for the 2013 elections, NDI provided workshops and consultations to 174 potential women candidates. Twelve of the 18 women elected to parliament attended multiple NDI-led workshops or received consultations on their campaigns. During this time, NDI also worked with women in political parties to help them negotiate placements on their parties’ lists, and worked with women candidates to help them overcome financial barriers to participation.

NDI provides support to the newly-elected women parliamentarians on constituent outreach and legislative issues. Following the 2013 polls, and with assistance from NDI, 13 women parliamentarians established the country’s first women’s parliamentary caucus. NDI has also recruited and trained two classes of parliamentary fellows since 2012. The current class of 27 fellows works with women members of parliament, the women’s caucus and various blocs to provide research assistance and do constituent outreach.

Youth Engagement

Through NDI’s youth political participation, Ana Usharek (I Participate),  more than 2,400 Jordanian students at 11 universities across the country participate in biweekly, peer-led discussion groups on the basic principles of human rights and democracy.  Ana Usharek students have also had the opportunity to meet with members of parliament and decision-makers to discuss the country's reform process.

Many graduates of Ana Usharek have gone on to participate in NDI’s advanced youth participation program, Usharek+. Through Usharek+, approximately 250 students have taken part in debate workshops, organized debates between candidates and students, and interned with different organizations across the country. In April 2013, Usharek+ students came together to participate in NDI’s first National Youth Debate Competition in Amman.

Legislative Strengthening 

NDI engages parliamentarians in workshops and individual consultations, providing them with legislative analysis and sharing materials on international best practices. In April 2013, NDI convened a workshop for the newly-elected members of parliament to discuss parliamentary procedures as well as Jordan’s current economic and social policies. NDI also works with parliamentary blocs and independent members of parliament on bylaws reform, economic policy and constituent outreach.

Civil Society

NDI provides technical and financial assistance to five civic organizations performing policy research and drafting papers to inform policy debates. Partners have identified various areas to address in their research, from decentralization of powers to youth employment.

Domestic and International Election Observation

Since 2007, NDI has worked with civil society organizations to observe Jordan’s elections. In that time, NDI has trained approximately 10,000 citizen observers to assess the country’s electoral proceedings.

For the 2013 elections, NDI provided technical and financial assistance to three domestic election observation coalitions led by the National Center for Human Rights, Al Hayat Center for Civil Society Development and the Identity Center. The coalitions trained and deployed more than 250 long-term observers to monitor voter registration, the campaign period and other aspects of the electoral process. Additionally, the coalitions deployed more than 5,000 accredited observers to monitor voting and counting procedures on election day. Each coalition drafted and released several statements on the proceedings, and in many cases, the IEC responded to recommendations put forth by domestic observer groups.

In 2013, NDI deployed 50 delegates to observe Jordan’s legislative elections. The delegation included former ambassadors and members of parliament, current and former political party leaders, election officials, representatives of nongovernmental organizations and regional specialists from 29 countries. Delegates assessed the immediate pre-election period, as well as voting procedures and the closing of the polls, in districts across the country. Following the elections, delegates convened in Amman to draft a preliminary statement. The statement commended the technical improvements, including the accreditation of domestic observers and the introduction of pre-printed, standardized ballots, while highlighting various shortcomings to the country’s overall electoral framework and administration.


NDI’s programs in Jordan are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Washington, D.C.
Erin Mathews, Director of Programs
[email protected]

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Film, Booklet Profile Women in Jordanian Parliament09/24/2008
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Published Publication Title Author
03/06/2014 Equal Access: How to Include Persons with Disabilities in Elections and Political Processes
National Democratic Institute, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES)
10/23/2013 Increasing Women’s Political Participation Through Effective Training Programs: A Guide to Best Practices and Lessons Learned
Training Manual
National Democratic Institute
05/08/2013 Campaign Skills Handbook - Middle East and North Africa Regional Campaign Schools
Shannon O'Connell, Samantha Smoot, Sally Abi Khalil
01/24/2013 NDI International Observation Mission to Jordan: Preliminary Statement
National Democratic Institute
11/19/2012 Pre-Election Assessment Delegation Statement Regarding Jordan's 2013 Legislative Elections
National Democratic Institute
04/03/2012 Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations and Code of Conduct for Nonpartisan Citizen Election Observers and Monitors
10/31/2011 Empowering Women for Stronger Political Parties: A Good Practices Guide to Promote Women's Political Participation (Now available in Burmese)
Julie Ballington
11/10/2010 Preliminary Statement of the NDI Election Observer Delegation to Jordan’s 2010 Parliamentary Elections
Election Statement
National Democratic Institute
11/09/2010 Final International Observation Report on the Jordanian Parliamentary Elections
National Democratic Institute
04/01/2010 Talking Politics
Magazine article
Living Well
11/01/2009 Jordanian Parliament Monitor: Third Parliamentary Monitoring Report
Al-Quds Center for Political Studies
11/01/2009 Arab Parliamentary Bulletin Issue 3
UNDP Parliamentary Development Initiative in the Arab Region (PDIAR)
09/01/2009 Jordan: Women Helping Women: Jordanian Women's Election Network
Roula Attar
12/03/2008 Jordan: Women Helping Women: About the Jordanian Women's Election Network
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2008 NDI Reports: A Review of the Activities of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
National Democratic Institute
11/20/2007 The Jordanian Civil Team for Observing the 2007 Parliamentary Elections: Post-Poll Closure
Press Release
Al-Urdun Al-Jadid Research Center
11/20/2007 The Jordanian Civil Team for Observing the 2007 Parliamentary Elections: Mid-Election Day Press Release
Press Release
Al-Urdun Al-Jadid Research Center
11/20/2007 2007 Jordanian Parliamentary Election Observation: Closing Press Statement
Press Release
Al-Hayat Center for Civil Society Development
11/20/2007 Press Statement: Voting Process Marred by Violence, Vote Buying, and Breaching the Secrecy of the Vote
Press Release
Al-Hayat Center for Civil Society Development
11/01/2007 First Class: Profiles of Women MPs & Senators in Jordan, 2003 - 2007
National Democratic Institute