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Jordan's King Abdullah appoints former aide as new PM

King Abdullah
King Abdullah has asked a former aide to form a new cabinet

Jordan's King Abdullah has asked a former palace aide to become the country's prime minister, following a snap dissolution of parliament.

Samir al-Rifai will form a new cabinet in order to push through reforms that the king says are vital for Jordan's economy before elections due next year.

In November King Abdullah dissolved the country's parliament halfway through its four-year term.

No reason was given in the royal edict dissolving the parliament at the time.

But the former cabinet recently failed to get approval for changes to the election law that would have further reduced the influence in parliament of the opposition Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

Resignation

It is believed to be the first time that an incoming prime minister has been asked to form his own cabinet, AFP news agency reported.

Earlier on Wednesday the king accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Nader al-Dahabi, officials said.

Jordan's king has the constitutional power to appoint new governments, pass laws and dissolve parliament.

Mr Rifai, 43, is a politician turned businessman and himself the son of a former Jordanian prime minister.

His father Zaid al-Rufai currently heads Jordan's appointed upper house, the senate.

The king reportedly wants to speed up political and economic reforms that would see the power of the parliament reduced.

Jordan's parliament is dominated by tribal leaders and the economy lacks the flexibility to respond to the global economic downturn, analysts say.

This is the second time King Abdullah has dissolved parliament since he acceded to the throne in 1999.



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