Pressured Jordan king calls for 'decisive' reforms

'Calling' for reforms, instead of ordering them

AMMAN - King Abdullah II on Tuesday urged "decisive" government measures to achieve reform and "uproot" corruption, in a bid to face growing popular discontent and demands for change in Jordan.
"The reform process needs decisive and quick measures as well as evaluation and follow-up," the king told Prime Minister Maaruf Bakhit in a letter, according to the state-run Petra news agency.
"The government must uproot corruption and bring the corrupt to justice -- which is part of reforms."
The king said he "will not accept any excuse for delaying political and economic reforms."
His letter comes a day after the powerful Islamist opposition urged the monarch to carry out reforms similar to measures taken this month by his Moroccan counterpart.
"The king of Morocco (Mohammed VI) is an example to follow. He has announced reforms unilaterally and they are satisfactory," Zaki Bani Rsheid, head of the political office of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), said on Monday.
Mohammed VI announced comprehensive reforms on March 9, including greater independence for the judiciary, enhanced powers for the premier, and the separation of powers, in an apparent move towards a constitutional monarchy.
Jordan's government has formed a national dialogue committee to help speed up reforms, but this has been rejected by the Islamists who say the king himself should lead the process.
The Islamists and other groups have been calling for sweeping reforms, including a new electoral law that would lead to a parliamentary government and elected prime minister rather than one appointed by the king.
Jordanians, inspired by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, have held protests since January demanding change and more efforts to fight corruption.