Jordan king picks ICJ judge Khasawneh as new premier


AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdallah on Monday sacked his Cabinet and asked Awn Khasawneh, an international jurist, to head a new administration, in a move to placate protesters calling for faster reforms, said officials and palace sources.

The Western-backed king, facing growing pressure from activists inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, dismissed Prime Minister Marouf Al-Bakhit, a conservative former army general, said the sources.

The king told Khasawneh, 61, and a member of the International Court of Justice, to become prime minister, push through a more representative electoral law and stamp out official corruption, the sources said.

“There is a sense that Jordan could slide into chaos and Khasawneh was brought in to try and solve that,” a Western diplomat in Amman said.

Khasawneh, a former chief of the royal court and a legal adviser to Jordan’s team that negotiated the peace treaty with Israel in 1994, is seen as a respected figure above domestic rivalries.

His predecessor Bakhit came to power when pro-reform protesters first took to the streets in February.

Officials say the monarch was disappointed by the slow pace of reforms under Bakhit and was responding to growing public criticism that the prime minister was dragging his feet over the reforms.


NOTE BY THE EDITOR: Of course His Majesty the King could have influenced ‘the speed of reform’

Categories: Asia, Jordan

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