Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jordan's new cabinet swears in

The new government in Jordan has taken the oath of office before the king, promising to bring wide and quick political reforms.

Jordan's King Abdullah II on Wednesday issued a decree approving the formation of a new cabinet led by the newly-appointed Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit.

The new 27-member cabinet includes members of opposition parties.

The Jordanian prime minister appointed Abdelrahim Akur, a former leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, as head of the ministry of Islamic affairs and awqaf (endowments) and five ministers, who are considered close to the left, took the justice, political development, culture, agriculture and information portfolios. 

But the outgoing ministers for foreign affairs, the interior, planning, water and finance all maintain their posts.

During the swearing in ceremony, the prime minister promised to follow instructions given by the king and carry out "real economic and political reforms," including amending the election law.

"We are giving priority to political reform, probably to legislations that govern political life, therefore the government will immediately start with a national dialogue, without excluding any one and will come up with a new elections law that has general consensus as well as other legislations such municipalities and public gathering laws. The government will take effective measures to fight corruption," Bakhit said.

Last week, after three weeks of anti-government demonstrations across Jordan, King Abdullah sacked Prime Minister Samir Rifai and appointed Bakhit as the country's new premier, instructing him to "take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms."

The opposition Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood which refused to join the new government, however, has described the new line-up as “just like its predecessors."

"We will wait and see what it does before making a judgment," IAF leader Hamzeh Mansur was quoted by AFP as saying.

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