Jordan government quits, king appoints new PM

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AMMAN, Nov 22 (Reuters) Jordan's King Abdullah asked former air force chief Nader Dhabi to form a new cabinet to push through a reform agenda, officials said today.

They said the monarch accepted the resignation of Marouf al-Bakheet, a former national security adviser, after parliamentary elections that consolidated the power of pro-government and tribal leaders in the 110-seat assembly.

Bakheet, drawn from the ranks of the military intelligence, formed his government in November 2005, with a mandate to adopt a tough stance against Islamic militancy but to ensure political liberalisation was not jeopardised.

Officials said Dhabi, whose brother Major General Mohammad Dhabi is head of the country's intelligence apparatus, was expected to form a cabinet on Sunday. It would be a mix of Western-leading reformists along with conservative politicians who have held sway in previous governments.

They said Dhabi, who has run the country's special economic zone in the Red Sea port of Aqaba for the last few years and was a former transport minister, was asked by the monarch to focus mostly on domestic issues, giving priority to speeding up the pace of reforms.

''His mandate after parliamentary elections is to focus on the economy, improving living standards and generating investments, and a better overall management the government,'' one official said.

Reuters PD GC1758

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