Jordan's king selects new prime minister

Oct. 18, 2011 at 7:52 AM
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AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 18 (UPI) -- Jordan's King Abdullah II has replaced his prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, with a former judge on the International Court of Justice.

The king issued a statement announcing that he has accepted the resignation of Bakhit and appointed Awn Khasawneh, 61, to take his place, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The move is seen as a response to growing pressure in the kingdom to accelerate political reform and establish genuine anti-corruption measures.

"There was a need for change," said political analyst Amer al-Sabaileh. "Popular discontent has risen as a result of the government's failure to achieve a great change on the street."

Bakhit was seen by many as dragging his feet on political change.

"Awn Khasawneh is known for his integrity, and has no corruption issues in his past like the rest," said Gen. Ali Habashneh, a spokesman for retired military service members.

The king also appointed Maj. Gen. Faisal al-Shobaki as intelligence chief.

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