Politics in Jordan is different than other countries in the Middle East.

Apart from the occasional march led by the Islamic Action Front (previously an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood), political demonstrations and rallies in the street are rare. Instead, candidates from a certain "list" from each city gather their supporters in Bedouin-style tents to give speeches; coffee and baklava are served.

The distinctly tribal feel of these gatherings is no coincidence. Political parties were banned in Jordan until 1989. Since then, most political parties, other than Islamist parties, have run without clear agendas. With Islamist parties boycotting previous elections and some 60 percent of candidates running as "independent," tribalism has overwhelmingly held sway in parliament. 

But changes to the electoral law in 2016 sought to change that, ending the one person, one vote system, aiming to strengthen political parties. Still, voter turnout was low, at about 37 percent; rural areas are overrepresented, with Amman having the lowest turnout of all, at 23 percent.

The European Union Election Observation Mission was among the international bodies observing the election process in Jordan. Throughout August and September 2016, I traveled around Jordan with the observers meeting with government officials, local election workers, civil society leaders, attending rallies, and visiting polling stations in Amman on election day.