Jordan king swears in new government to prepare for elections
Jordan's King Abdullah II tours the US pavilion with US ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells as international military delegations look at weaponary during the opening ceremony of the Special Operation Forces Exhibition (SOFEX) on May 10, 2016 in Amman. Photograph: (Getty)
Jordanian King Abdullah swore in a new government led by a business-friendly politician on Wednesday, and charged him with preparing for parliamentary elections by September and pushing legislation to spur sluggish growth.
Hani Mulki, 64, who has held a string of senior diplomatic and ministerial posts, is a former chief commissioner of Jordan's economic zone in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba.
He was appointed by the king on Sunday to replace Abdullah Ensour shortly after the monarch dissolved parliament as it neared the end of its four-year term. Elections must be held within four months under the constitution.
Official sources said the government is expected to maintain traditional support for U.S. policies in the region and continue with IMF-guided reforms.
They say the monarch chose Mulki to help spur investment, especially from main Gulf oil producer Saudi Arabia, which has shown interest in investing in the debt-laden kingdom.
Jordan's finances have been hit by a drop in Gulf aid which traditionally tops up its coffers and worsened investor confidence hit by regional uncertainty. The economy has also been strained by a flood of refugees from the five-year-old civil war in neighbouring Syria.