AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan's King Abdullah II fired his government Tuesday in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms.
The dismissal follows several large protests across Jordan-- inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt -- calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.
A Royal Palace statement said Abdullah accepted Rifai's resignation tendered earlier Tuesday.
The king named Marouf al-Bakhit as his prime minister-designate, instructing him to "undertake quick and tangible steps for real political reforms, which reflect our vision for comprehensive modernization and development in Jordan," the palace statement said.
Al-Bakhit previously served as Jordan's premier from 2005-2007.
The king also stressed that economic reform was a "necessity to provide a better life for our people, but we won't be able to attain that without real political reforms, which must increase popular participation in the decision-making."
He asked al-Bakhit for a "comprehensive assessment ... to correct the mistakes of the past." He did not elaborate. The statement said Abdullah also demanded an "immediate revision" of laws governing politics and public freedoms.