Jordan’s king dismisses government, names new prime minister
Jordan’s King Abdullah II dismissed his government and named a new prime minister Tuesday to carry out “true political reforms,” according to AFP.
“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.
Dozens of Islamists and trade unionists staged a noisy protest outside the Egyptian embassy in Amman on Saturday in support of “the people of Egypt” and against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
“Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia awaits you,” the Jordanian activists chanted, referring to the country which has sheltered Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after he was toppled earlier this month in the so-called “Jasmine Revolution” that has been the inspiration for the Egyptian revolt.
“We say to the Americans, ‘do not interfere’,” Hamam Said, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, told reporters at the rally. “Your control which has lasted 100 years is finished. We are living in a new era.”
He urged the Jordanian authorities “to draw lessons from the events (in Egypt) and start political reforms, because the people want to have a voice and to be able to express their opinion.”
Anti-government protests have been staged in Jordan after weekly Friday prayers for the past three weeks.
— With AFP