February 10, 2011 by staff
Last week, the king sacked PM Samir Rifai over the slow pace of reforms and appointed Marouf al-Bakhit, army general and former ambassador to Israel.
The new cabinet includes 26 members and five Islamist leftists.
Opposition Muslim Brotherhood members have refused to take ministerial posts, but said they would wait to see if the results of real reform.
Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets over the past five weeks, demanding better employment opportunities and reductions in food and fuel costs.
The protesters also demand more participation in the political process and to be able to elect their Prime Minister. Currently, King Abdullah appoints and dismisses.
(AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is in “excellent” health and eager to return home after recovering from surgery in Morocco, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Thursday.
“It is in excellent health, he is receiving treatment,” said the prince in Morocco.
“The doctors are suggesting a certain amount of therapy and it’s twice as much as they say. … He is himself, confident of what he can do and ready and I look forward to return to work and go home. ”
Jordanian Prime Minister Maarouf Bakhit has appointed a new cabinet, including Islamist leftists and five on Tuesday after the dismissal of the former government by King Abdullah II at the beginning of the month.
The new 26-member line-up, who was sworn in, includes independent Islamists Abdelrahim Akure, a former leader of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood, as head of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf (Endowments).
It also includes five ministers who are considered close to the left – Hussein Mjalli, who became justice minister, Mazen Saket (Development Policy), Tarek Massarweh (culture), Samir Habashneh (agriculture), and editor Taher Adwan (information).
From the center of the political spectrum, Hazem Kashuh was charged with the portfolio of municipal affairs.
Keep to the former government ministers have been holding foreign affairs, interior, planning, water and finance.
The opposition Islamic Action Front – the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood – the new government gave a cautious response after rejecting an offer on the weekend to join the new government.
Its leader Hamzeh Mansur told AFP the new lineup – which includes two women – was “like its predecessors … but we’ll wait and see what he does before making a decision.”
Bakhit, 64, charged with a wide range of political and economic reforms, has made a point of a broad consultation on the formation of his new government after the king dismissed his predecessor Samir Rifai, 43, Feb. 2 in the face of street protests fanned by the examples of Tunisia and Egypt.
But Mansur said Sunday that his party had decided not to accept an offer to join the new government, mostly men in their 60s, despite initially promising talks with the authorities.
Islamist opposition activist Jamil Abu Bakr told AFP Wednesday those demonstrations and other forms of protest would continue “until the adoption of reforms by the government.”
“The Jordanian people do not believe in promises and they are not interested in talking,” he said. “They want action.”
Topping the list of reforms that the opposition wants to see in place changes to the electoral law and laws governing public freedoms, “said Zaki Bani Rsheid, a member of the executive committee of the Islamic Action Front.
In a letter to King Abdullah, Bakhit pledged to give priority to changes in electoral law through a dialogue with members of parliament and other national stakeholders to reach consensus and achieve reforms by through quickly.
He also pledged to “reform package”, “a deep dialogue with all political forces”, and respects for the news media, stressing that a free and credible would be beneficial to the nation.
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