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Jordanian King appoints caretaker PM to oversee new elections

Jordanian King Abdullah has dissolved parliament, paving the way for elections expected later this year. The polls are seen as a move towards more democracy, at least at face value.

Jordan's King Abdullah appointed veteran politician and economist Hani al-Mulqi as prime minister after dissolving parliament by royal decree, following the end of its four-year term. The monarch also charged al-Mulqi with scheduling new elections by October. Al-Mulqi, 65, previously served as Jordan's foreign minister and ambassador to Egypt.

The king also accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, as is customary under the constitution, before appointing an interim head of government.

More democracy?

After the lower house passed an amendment to the electoral laws earlier this year, government sources and political analysts say there are likely to be more candidates from political parties running for office. However, Jordan's main political opposition to the government comes from the Muslim Brotherhood movement, which is facing an increasing number of legal challenges making it unlikely that the party will run in elections.

In 2011, under pressure from the popular protests across the Arab world, Jordan's parliament endorsed constitutional changes that devolved some of the monarch's powers to the parliament.

However, tribal lawmakers in Jordan continue to propagate a system that favors the sparsely populated tribal regions of the country, which benefit most from state patronage and the support of the monarchy.

ss/jr (dpa, Reuters)