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Jordan's King Abdullah
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Jordan's king sacks government
After weeks of opposition protests inspired by regime ouster in Tunisia and turmoil in Egypt, Abdullah names his former ex-military advisor Marouf Bakhit as new prime minister with orders to carry out 'true political reforms'

After weeks of opposition protests demanding change, Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday sacked his government and asked his former ex-military advisor Marouf Bakhit to form a new cabinet, an official said.

 

According to the palace, the king named Bakhit as prime minister with orders to carry out "true political reforms".

 

Bakhit's mission is to take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms, enhance Jordan's democratic drive and ensure safe and decent living for all Jordanians."

 

King Abdullah's move came after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets –inspired by the regime ouster in Tunisia and the turmoil in Egypt – and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

 

The king also stressed that economic reform was a "necessity to provide a better life for our people, but we won't be able to attain that without real political reforms, which must increase popular participation in the decision-making."

 

He asked al-Bakhit for a "comprehensive assessment ... to correct the mistakes of the past." He did not elaborate. The statement said Abdullah also demanded an "immediate revision" of laws governing politics and public freedoms.

  

Jordan's powerful Islamist opposition said on Monday that it had started a dialogue with the state, saying that unlike the situation in Egypt, it did not seek regime change.

 

Opposition demands included "the resignation of the government, the amendment of the electoral law and the formation of a national salvation government headed by an elected prime minister," a member of the Islamic Action Front's executive council, Zaki Bani Rsheid, told AFP.

 

Rifai formed a first government in December 2009, and reshuffled it in November 2010. Bakhit, who was born in 1947, served as prime minister from 2005 to 2007.

 

AFP, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

 

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