"The Jordanian Parliamentary Elections are under the scrutiny of the entire world. And we're in the time of the Arab Spring and nobody's afraid to say anything."
Judeh, speaking Wednesday to CNN, said his country had "anticipated the Arab Spring," so the king began reforms "many years ago." But he acknowledged that protests in the region expedited the changes inside Jordan.
More than 3 million Jordanians were eligible to vote for candidates to the new 150-member House of Deputies, officials said. A field of more than 1,400 candidates vied for the seats.
"Nothing undermines the legitimacy of any election except the lack of participation by the electorate, by the people who are eligible to vote," Judeh said.
Muslim Brotherhood opts out
The reforms made by the Jordanian government were not enough to satisfy the Muslim Brotherhood, which felt the new electoral laws favored the monarchy.
Despite their rejection, the government continued to encourage them to take part in the process.
"We told the Brotherhood members who are boycotting that we invite you to exercise the same logic that your brothers in Egypt with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood exercised when there was a dispute over the constitution and not the law," Maaytah said. "They invited Egyptians to the ballot box. So we invite you to the ballot box here."
In a discussion paper posted on Jordan's U.S. Embassy website, Abdullah said the country is transitioning to a parliamentary government and has "enhanced the separation of powers, the checks and balances of our governance system, the independence of our judiciary and the inalienable rights of our citizens."
Jordan has amended one-third of the constitution and established a constitutional court, the king said.
"These actions empower the Jordanian people to shape the country's future in a way that is more transparent, fair and inclusive than ever before," Abdullah wrote. "Crafting a modern democratic society will be the product of our learning and developing together over time, not a single moment or set of reforms."
Time for a change
The United States has said it supports both the king's road map for reform -- which gradually shifts more power to the elected parliament -- and demands for a more inclusive political process.
But the two may not be compatible.
The tribes don't want to see the largely urban Muslim Brotherhood -- which derives much of its support from Jordan's Palestinian population, which makes up about half the country -- gain power at their expense.
Pinched by an economic crisis that has left the government virtually bankrupt and unrest in neighboring countries, Abdullah faces a challenge that may not be satisfied by all the firsts represented in this election.