Prime Minister Resigns, King Names Mudar Badran Successor
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Prime Minister Zeid Bin Shaker resigned today and King Hussein named his court chief, Mudar Badran, to form a new government, official sources reported.
The new Cabinet will have the task of negotiating with Jordan’s new Parliament, including Islamic fundamentalists, on legislation.
An official at the prime minister’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bin Shaker, 55, a distant cousin of the king, will take over as royal court chief.
The appointment of Badran, 55, who has the reputation in the Arab world of being a strong, persuasive politician, came as a surprise. Most observers had expected Bin Shaker to stay on and form a new Cabinet.
Badran’s appointment signaled concern over the deterioration in Jordan’s relations with neighboring Syria over Syria’s military occupation of Lebanon.
The official told The Associated Press that a new Cabinet will have to seek a vote of confidence in Parliament within 30 days.
The new Cabinet will include former ministers, some members of the royally appointed senate and some of the newly elected 80-member Chamber of Deputies, he said.
Under Jordan’s constitution, Bin Shaker’s government had been expected to resign following the Nov. 8 parliamentary elections, the first nationwide poll in 22 years amid King Hussein’s move toward wider democracy.
Bin Shaker formed his transitional government April 27 following a wave of riots in southern Jordan over price hikes in basic food commodities and fuel. At least nine people were killed.
He was charged with overseeing the general elections and halting a sharp slide in the economy that has cut per capita income from $2,000 a year to about $1,200.
Badran is known to sympathize with extremist Moslem factions, including the Moslem Brotherhood movement, which won 25 seats in Parliament in the recent elections. Nine other fundamentalists also won the election.
The new government will have to negotiate with the fundamentalists to pass its own legislative program through Parliament, which approves all laws and has the power to dismiss prime ministers and their Cabinets.
But ultimate authority remains in the hands of the king, who has the power to dissolve Parliament and rule by decree.