Jordanian King fires PM, intel. minister

Amid fears of more street protests, the Jordanian king accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Maaruf al-Bakhit, replacing him with International Court of Justice judge Awn Khasawneh.

According to a senior Jordanian government official, Maaruf al-Bakhit tendered his resignation on Monday at the request of the monarch one day after a majority of Jordanian lawmakers signed a petition demanding the dismissal of the country’s prime minister and cabinet over their failure to meet growing demands for reforms.

“Khasawneh is currently meeting with the king, who entrusted him to form the new government,” said the official, who requested anonymity.

Sources close to Khasawneh said the 61-year old judge had “asked for guarantees that he fully assumes the prerogatives of prime minister as stipulated in the constitution,” AFP reported.

Jordanians have been holding nationwide anti-government protest rallies over the past months, demanding al-Bakhit’s resignation.

Al-Bakhit was appointed in February after nearly a month of anti-government protests across Jordan, but his appointment failed to appease protesters and Jordanians continued their rallies to demand reforms during his eight-month term.

His government was accused of corruption and failure to deliver on promised reforms.

King Abdullah II also on Monday sacked intelligence minister Mohamad Raqqad, who has held the position since 2008, and appointed Major-General Feisal Shobaki as country’s new intelligence chief.

Shobaki is currently Jordan’s ambassador to Morocco.

The Jordanian king is reportedly planning a shake-up at the royal palace as well as in the security departments.

( / 17.10.2011)

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