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Middle east

Islamists reject offer to join coalition government with reform mandate

Latest update : 2011-02-06

Jordan's Islamist opposition said on Sunday it has rejected an offer to join a coalition headed by Prime Minister Marruf Bakhit after a week of street demonstrations led King Abdullah II to form a new government.

REUTERS - Jordan's Islamist opposition said on Sunday it has rejected an offer to join a new government headed by Prime Minister Marruf Bakhit and tasked with enhancing reforms.

"We have received an offer to join to the government of Marruf Bakhit, but we refused," Hamzah Mansur, leader of the powerful Islamic Action Front (IAF), the politial arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, told AFP.

"We did not discuss the details of the offer, but all what I can say is that taking part in this government under the current circumstances is out of the question," he said.

While the IAF's internal bylaws do not prevent the Islamists from joining government, "acceptable participation for us is the one that comes through national consensus and parliamentary elections," he added.

"We are not asking for miracles. Our demands are realistic, practical and doable. We demand early general polls in line with a new electoral law."

The IAF boycotted the general election in November in protest at constituency boundaries set up under a new electoral law, which it said over-represented rural areas considered loyal to the government.

Bakhit said on Saturday that his cabinet -- which he hopes to have in place by Thursday -- would "include personalities who are credible and close to the people."

King Abdullah II instructed the 64-year-old career soldier and past prime minister to undertake a sweeping programme of political and economic reforms following street protests.

When Bakhit was appointed, the Islamist opposition questioned his reformist credentials. But Islamist leaders expressed satisfaction on Friday after meeting both him and the monarch.

Interactive timeline of the turmoil sweeping across the Arab world

Date created : 2011-02-06

  • JORDAN

    Tunisia-inspired protests force Jordan's king to name new premier

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  • JORDAN

    Jordan rejects criticism on human rights

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  • JORDAN

    Thousands gather to call for the government to step down

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