Jordan's King Abdullah Swears in New Government

Business-oriented Prime Minister Hani Mulki to prepare for elections by September after monarch dissolves parliament.

Jordan's King Abdullah, his wife Queen Rania and their son Crown Prince Hussein attend a ceremony to mark the 70th Independence Day, Amman, Jordan, May 25, 2016.
Khalil Mazraawi, Reuters

REUTERS — Jordanian King Abdullah swore in a new government led by a business-friendly politician on Wednesday and charged him with preparing for parliamentary elections by September and pushing legislation to spur sluggish growth.

Hani Mulki, 64, who has held a string of senior diplomatic and ministerial posts, is a former chief commissioner of Jordan's economic zone in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba.

He was appointed by the king on Sunday to replace Abdullah Ensour shortly after the monarch dissolved parliament as it neared its four-year term. Elections must be held within four months under the constitution.

Official sources said the government is expected to maintain traditional support for U.S. policies in the region and continue with IMF-guided reforms. 

They say the monarch chose Mulki to help spur investment, especially from main Gulf oil producer Saudi Arabia, which has shown interest in investing in the debt-laden kingdom. 

Jordan's finances have been hit by a drop in Gulf aid which traditionally tops up its coffers and worsened investor confidence hit by regional uncertainty. The economy has also been strained by a flood of refugees from the five-year-old civil war in neighboring Syria.