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House majority to agree on premier before weekend

By Khaled Neimat - Feb 25,2013 - Last updated at Feb 25,2013

AMMAN — A coalition of four parliamentary blocs representing the majority of the Lower House will nominate one candidate to head the next government before the weekend, leaders of the coalition said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Royal Court Chief Fayez Tarawneh met Monday with independent deputies, concluding marathon talks over the formation of the new government.  

The 84-member coalition is composed of members of the Watan (27 MPs), Democratic Gathering (24 MPs), Free Pledge (18 MPs) and the Islamic Centrist Party (15 MPs) blocs.

Each one of the four blocs will have a name, then they will meet on Wednesday to hold “secret internal voting”, president of the Democratic Gathering bloc Yousef Qorneh told The Jordan Times on Monday.

Two of the four blocs have already named their candidate.

The Free Pledge and the Democratic Gathering named Interior Minister Awad Khleifat and President of the Independent Elections Commission Abdul Ilah Khatib respectively. 

Neither of the blocs consulted with their members before naming the candidates, and the two top officials within the blocs were not available for comments.

The total number of names that surfaced as candidates for premiership during the consultations reached three by Monday, as the National Accord (18 MPs) and the National Union Party (10) blocs nominated incumbent Premier Abdullah Ensour during their consultations with Tarawneh. 

Meanwhile, veteran Deputy Khalil Atiyeh signed a memo demanding the formation of a temporary committee that would work to implement the common political vision shared by MPs.

In his memo to Lower House Speaker Saad Hayel Srour, Atiyeh noted that the committee would lead national dialogue with political powers, including those who boycotted the last parliamentary elections.

Independent deputies

Tarawneh met with the remaining nine independent MPs on Monday.

The step came one day after Tarawneh concluded his first round of consultations with the Lower House’s eight blocs to select the country’s new prime minister, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The deputies focused on the qualities of the next prime minister and his or her agenda, rather than nominating a specific person.

Some of the MPs said that the next government should come from Parliament, while others disagreed with the demand.

During the consultations, the MPs focused on the economic challenges facing Jordan and the next government’s agenda for dealing with them. 

They also talked about various topics including the independence of the judiciary, controlling public expenditures and paying extra attention to the education sector. 

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