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Jordan's New Prime Minister Sworn In, Promises Reforms

Jordan's King Abdullah has sworn in a new Cabinet headed by a moderate prime minister who is promising economic and social reforms.

Prime Minister Nader al-Dahabi was one of 28 ministers to take the oath of office Sunday in Amman. The Cabinet includes four women ministers, compared to two or three in previous governments.

Mr. Dahabi says his priorities will be to increase labor productivity, fight poverty and create job opportunities for Jordanians. Critics say the previous government's free market reforms increased the divide between rich and poor.

The new prime minister also pledged to improve education and raise the salaries of Jordan's civil servants and military personnel.

Mr. Dahabi is a former transport minister and air force commander. He also helped to develop a special economic zone in the southern port city of Aqaba.

The previous prime minister, Marouf al-Bakhit, stepped down after parliamentary elections last Tuesday in which supporters of King Abdullah won a majority in the 110-seat assembly.

Jordan's opposition Islamic Action Front won only seven seats, down from 17 seats in the last parliament, and blamed its defeat on fraud and vote-buying. The government says the elections were impartial and fair.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.