Jordan sworn in new government

16:36, February 10, 2011      

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< br> Jordan's new Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit speaks to the press at the Raghadan Palace after his new government was sworn in before King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan, on Feb. 9, 2011. (Xinhua/Mohammad Abu Ghosh)

A new Jordanian government, chaired by prime minister designate Marouf Bakhit, was sworn in before King Abdullah II of Jordan Wednesday, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

In addition to Bakhit, the new government includes 27 ministers, among whom five are from the line-up of former Prime Minister Samir Rifai who resigned last week amid nationwide protests. The new council of ministers also includes two women.

The Jordanian king named Marouf Bakhit as the prime minister last week.

Born in 1947, Bakhit joined the Jordanian Armed Forces in 1964 and retired in 1999 as a major general. He once served as the ambassador to Turkey and Israel, the head of National Security and acting director of the king's office.

Bakhit served as Jordan's prime minister from 2005 to 2007.

In a letter to the Jordanian king after the government was sworn in, Bakhit stressed commitment to continuing the process of reform, adding that dialogue will be the way to draw up programs and draft legislation in the country.

The premier stressed that the government will involve all in discussions of the country's economic situation and development issues.

Bakhit said that the opposition in Jordan is a main partner of the government, stressing the need for fostering the work of political parties in Jordan by providing more support.

He added that the government will give a priority for drawing up a modern and advanced election law.

Observers believe that Bakhit's government faces a tough mission, saying that it should primarily focus on combating corruption.

Analysts say Bakhit and his team should speed up dialogue with all the segments in the society to come up with a " modern, civilized" election law which increases public participation in the political life and decision-making process, stressing that the new government may be limited by the "rocketing public debt and high budget deficit."

Grievances in Jordan have grown over the past years over soaring food and fuel prices and low salaries, which drove thousands of Jordanians to demonstrate over the past month to ask for genuine political and socio-economic reforms.

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