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Jordan’s new government may include opposition | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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AMMAN (AFP) – Jordan’s premier and Islamists have met as part of efforts to form a new cabinet that could include opposition figures but pro-reform protests are set to continue, officials said on Thursday.

“The meeting was positive and open, paving the way for a new chapter in our relations with the government,” a member of the Islamic Action Front delegation told AFP after talks with Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit on Wednesday night.

“We hope that what was discussed will be implemented, but our demonstrations and activities to demand political reform will continue,” said the IAF member, whose group is the political arm of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood.

The IAF plans to hold a sit-in outside the premier’s office on Friday.

A member of Bakhit’s delegation said the prime minister vowed at the meeting that “amending the electoral law will be a priority in order to issue an exemplary law.”

“The new government, which will be announced on Saturday or Sunday, could group members who are close to the Islamists or leftists. It is possible,” the source said.

The IAF boycotted Jordan’s 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.

King Abdullah II on Tuesday named Bakhit, 64, a career soldier and former prime minister, after sacking the government of Samir Rifai, 43, following weeks of protests to demand political and economic reforms.

He instructed Bakhit to “take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms,” but the powerful IAF criticised the monarch’s choice saying Bakhit was not a reformist.

Despite government measures to pump around $500 million into the economy in a bid to help improve living conditions, protests have rumbled on in Amman and other cities over the past three weeks to demand reforms.