King of Jordan dismisses government


Jordanian protesters demanding government reforms joined an encampment at a central squarein Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2011. Dozens were injured in clashes in the protest camp between 2000 protesters and around 300 King supporters who threw rocks on them. (Salah Malkawwi/ Getty Images)


Salah Malkawi

Under growing pressure for political reform, King Abdullah II of Jordan dismissed his government on Monday, reports the New York Times.

According to the Times, the King made the announcement in a statement:

We have accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit, taking into consideration the views of the various sectors of society as well as a letter we have received from the parliamentary majority.

The King also sacked his intelligence chief, Mohamed Al-Rakkad, and entrusted the new government to Awn Khaswaneh, a senior member of Jordan's royal court and a judge on the International Court of Justice at The Hague, reports the Middle East Monitor. Khaswaneh will be the country's third prime minister this year.

The change of government came after more than 70 Jordanian Members of Parliament called for the resignation of al-Bakhit, reportedly saying that he failed to implement reforms demanded by the public since February, according to BBC News.

The Council on Foreign Relations' blog notes that al-Bakhit was hired to address "rising commodity prices, political stagnation, and corruption," but the former military man was a reluctant reformer, focusing more on securing domestic policy rather than proposing meaningful changes. Robert Danin suggests that, with the Jordanian people's priorities being fixing corruption and economic reform, Khaswaneh is more suited for the prime minister post.

Calls for reform in Jordan started in February, as the Arab Spring swept the Middle East.

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