Jordan king names new prime minister


King Abdullah II of Jordan named Maruf Bakhit as prime minister on Tuesday with orders to carry out “true political reforms,” the palace said, after weeks of opposition protests demanding change.

“King Abdullah II designated Maruf Bakhit to form a new government to replace the government of Samir Rifai,” a palace statement said.

“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.”

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.

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