Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh
Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh, pictured in October 2011, won a comfortable vote of confidence for his government from parliament on Thursday, following a four-day debate on his policies. © Khalil Mazraawi - AFP/File
Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh
AFP
Last updated: December 1, 2011

Jordan PM wins comfortable confidence vote

Prime Minister Awn Khasawneh won a comfortable vote of confidence for his government from parliament on Thursday, following a four-day debate on his policies.

The vote was 89-25, with three abstentions and two MPs absent from the 120-seat lower house of parliament. One seat is vacant following the recent death of a deputy.

The MPs urged Khasawneh's government meet public demands for reform as well as taking tougher action against corruption.

Khasawneh, whose new government needed the confidence vote to be able to function, vowed to fight corruption, saying, "No one is above the law."

Despite the parliamentary vote of confidence, the powerful opposition Islamists and youth groups are planning demonstrations after midday prayers on Friday in Amman and other cities to demand reforms.

Since January, Jordan has faced protests calling for political and economic change and an end to corruption.

Khasawneh, 61, an International Court of Justice judge, pledged to push ahead with reforms when he formed his cabinet in October.

The MPs, meanwhile, asked the government to resist joining any intervention in Syria, where more than 4,000 people have died in a crackdown on dissidents, according to the United Nations.

"We have important ties and economic relation with neighbouring Syria. We are deeply concerned about its crisis, and we condemn the violence and bloodshed there," Khasawneh said.

"Jordan has made it clear that any sanctions on Syria that would harm the Syrian and Jordanian people must be considered."

The Arab League approved on Sunday sweeping sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's government over the crackdown -- the first time that bloc has enforced punitive measures of such magnitude on one of its own members.

Measures include an immediate ban on transactions with Damascus and its central bank and a freeze on Syrian government assets in Arab countries.

They also bar Syrian officials from visiting Arab countries and call for a suspension of all flights to Arab states to be implemented on a date to be set next week.

The vote on sanctions came after Damascus defied an ultimatum to accept observers under an Arab League peace plan and put an end to the eight-month crackdown.

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