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Middle east

King names The Hague judge as new Prime Minister

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-10-17

King Abdullah II of Jordan on Monday appointed International Court of Justice judge Awn Khasawhneh as Prime Minister to replace Maaruf Bakhit, who resigned after 60 lawmakers signed a letter to the king requesting his departure.

AFP - King Abdullah II on Monday named International Court of Justice judge Awn Khasawneh as prime minister, replacing Maaruf Bakhit, whose government has been accused of failing to meet growing demands for reforms, a government official said.

"Khasawneh is currently meeting with the king, who entrusted him to form the new government," said the official, who requested anonymity.

The appointment follows the resignation earlier Monday of Bakhit, who was appointed in February, at the request of the monarch.

Sources close to Khasawneh, 61, who has been a member of The Hague-based court since 2000, said the judge had "asked for guarantees that he fully assumes the prerogatives of prime minister as stipulated in the constitution."

Parliament is in recess, but more than 60 MPs on Sunday signed a letter to the king, criticising the work of Bakhit. The document has not been made public.

The king also on Monday appointed Major-General Feisal Shobaki as intelligence chief, replacing Mohamad Raqqad, who has held the position since 2008.

In August, the king held meetings with various Jordanian groups and spoke of a "tsunami" of change in top state posts to enhance his reform drive, according to those who attended the gatherings.

Sources have said the king is planning a shake-up at the royal palace as well as in the security departments.

Jordan has been the scene of protests since January to demand sweeping economic and political reform.

Date created : 2011-10-17

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