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Middle East

Jordan unveils new cabinet to ease protests

media Jordan new Prime Minister Maruf Bakhit and ministers at the Royal Palace … Reuters

Jordanian premier Maaruf Bakhit has named a new cabinet including an Islamist and five leftists one week after King Abdullah II fired his cabinet in the wake of protests in the country.

The new government includes a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdelrahim Akur, despite the opposition movement's refusal to be part of the government.

Jordan’s Islamist influential party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, gave the government a cautious response, and said they are prepared to wait a year for the government to craft a new election law.

The new cabinet includes five ministers considered to be close to the left, including Hussein Mjalli, who becomes justice minister, and Mazen Saket who will be in charge of political development.

Last week, the king fired his unpopular premier Samir Rifai and replaced him with a retired general, Marouf Bakhit and promised to fight corruption and open up the political system.

King Abdullah is keen to appease tensions in Jordan where peaceful protests have called for political reform in the wave of unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.

While protests drew up to 5,000 demonstrators in January, a gathering in front of the Egyptian embassy drew fewer than 200 people on Wednesday.

The government is expected to maintain close ties to the United States.

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