Jordan′s King re-appoints prime minister after predictable elections | News | DW | 25.09.2016
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Jordan's King re-appoints prime minister after predictable elections

Hani al-Mulki has been asked by the king to continue in the post after serving as interim prime minister. The longtime government official has been asked to emphasize economic and electoral reform.

Jordan's King Abdullah II re-appointed Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki (above right) on Sunday. Mulki had been serving as interim leader since May, when his predecessor Abdullah Ensour stepped down at the end of his mandate.

"The king has accepted the resignation of Hani al-Malki's government and charged him with forming a new one," the royal palace said in a statement.

Mulki has now been tasked by the king with forming a government just a few days afterlackluster turnout largely reaffirmed the status quo, albeit with some gains by the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood. The elections last Tuesday saw the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamic Action Front, which boycotted two previous polls, win 16 seats.

As in past elections, most seats in the 130-member parliament went to businessmen and tribal figures close to the monarchy.

The 65-year-old Malki, an engineer by training, was closely involved with the negotiations that led to Jordan signing a peace deal with Israel in 1994.

Royal power

Although Jordan has a two-house parliament, King Abdullah still wields tremendous power. He appoints all 75 members of the upper house Senate, the head of the national police force, and has oversight over all matters of security, defense, justice and foreign policy.

In his letter to Mulki, the king instructed the prime minister to form a government and to work on reforms for jump-starting the country's sluggish economy. With high unemployment, a large influx of refugees and the proximity of the conflict in Syria, Abdullah must oversee changes in order to cement his own legitimacy.

Only by quickly giving up his power to appoint cabinet ministers in the wake of widespread protest in 2011 and 2012 did he manage to avoid the chaos that engulfed several regional neighbors around the same time.

Mulki and his new cabinet are set to be sworn in on Friday.

es/jm (AP, Reuters)

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