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King Abdullah II's May 29 appointment of Hani al-Mulqi, head of the Aqaba Special Economic Region Authority, to replace outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour comes at a turning point for Jordan. Though the office has limited inherent power – especially since a set of constitutional amendments announced in April enhanced executive authority and, specifically, the power of the king – it signals a shift toward a more technocratic government, even if not an independent one. King Abdullah has spoken about this periodically for years, meaning that Jordan's parliament should have a full ideological spectrum of parties and that a coalition government should elect a prime minister.First announced on April 18, the bill containing the amendments was approved by Cabinet the same day, and passed votes in parliament and the senate on April 27 and on May 2, respectively.Unlike in Morocco, there was no referendum to add popular legitimacy to the changes, and there were no qualifications that a government be based on party support. This latter point is important in terms of application: because the putative move toward parliamentary government is informal, the king will maintain discretion to not have a parliamentary government if he so wishes.
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