Turnout in Wednesday's election just topped 50 per cent, the authorities said, higher than some feared after the most powerful Islamist party, the Islamic Action Front, a local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged voters to stay away.

But the dominance of pro-regime parties in the new assembly will damage its credibility at a time when King Abdullah is trying to manage calls for reform at home and deal with overspill from Syria's civil war on his northern border.