King of Jordan dissolves parliament, appoints new PM
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King of Jordan dissolves parliament, appoints new PM

Abdullah charges Hani Mulki, who once headed committee for negotiations with Israel, with leading kingdom into next elections

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

The Jordanian Parliament (Jordan Parliament official)
The Jordanian Parliament (Jordan Parliament official)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II issued a decree on Sunday dissolving the parliament, and appointed a new prime minister to ready the country for new elections.

The announcement came at the end of the parliament’s four-year term.

The decision ended the term of prime minister Abdullah Ensour, who resigned Sunday, as is traditional before a new premier can be chosen to oversee elections.

The man tapped by King Abdullah as the new prime minister is Hani Mulki, a long-time civil servant who served as the chief commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.

Hani Mulki, appointed as the prime minister of Jordan on May 26, 2016. (Courtesy: screen shot CNBC)
Hani Mulki, appointed as the prime minister of Jordan on May 26, 2016. (Courtesy: screen shot CNBC)

Mukli served as chairmen of the Jordanian Committee for Peace Negotiations with Israel between 1994-1996 and was the ambassador to Egypt from 2002-2004 and again from 2008-2011, according to official website of the Jordanian Senate.

The final act of the former parliament before it was dissolved was a controversial vote to allow Israel to invest in Jordan, which came as part of a larger bill to allow foreign countries to invest in the Hashemite Kingdom. The lawmakers first voted to not allow Israel to invest in their country, but a re-vote saw the body reverse its decision, according to the Jordanian news site Al Bawaba.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Jordan in January 2014 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Jordan in January 2014 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/FLASH90)

While Jordan and Israel enjoy close but quiet cooperation on security matters and maintain large-scale economic deals, Amman has repeatedly criticized Israel for its policies toward the Palestinians, particularly on the Temple Mount, leading to some strain in diplomatic ties. Jordanian democracy is considered weak, as the king still wields broad executive powers and appoints and dismisses the prime minister and cabinet at his discretion. Additionally, the entire senate, which debates every law after it goes through the elected House of Representatives, is appointed by the king.

A 2015 Freedom House report gave Jordan a 2/12 score for electoral process and 3/12 for functioning of government.

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