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King Abdullah II names Jordan new PM

Hours after Marouf al-Bakhit, outgoing Prime Minister, resigned following parliamentary elections Jordan's King Abdullah II designated a former air force official Nader Al-Dahabi to form the country's new Cabinet.

Nader Al-Dahabi, 61, a technocrat who headed a special economic zone in the Red Sea resort city of Aqaba, is set to be the country's new head of government.

A liberal politician, al-Dahabi is expected to embrace Abdullah's proclaimed reform agenda, nurture close ties with the United States and pursue the quest for a peaceful settlement of the lingering Arab-Israeli conflict.

A senior government official said the premier-designate could form his Cabinet as soon as Sunday, following consultations with various political leaders. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give statements to media.

Earlier Thursday, al-Bakhit's 26-member Cabinet resigned since its mandate expired after parliamentary elections this week.

Tuesday's polling saw pro-government loyalists win a majority in the 110-seat parliament, while Islamist opposition took only six seats - 11 less than what they held in the previous parliament elected in 2003.

Al-Dahabi is also a former transportation minister who once headed the flag carrier Royal Jordanian. He also served in Jordan's royal air force. His brother is Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Dahabi, the Jordanian chief of intelligence.

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