The king on Wednesday said he wanted elected regional councils established to help set development priorities.

"Each region will have a local council directly elected by its people to work hand in hand with the elected municipal councils in the governorates to set priorities, and draw up plans and programmes related to their respective region," he said.

"These tasks should no longer be exclusive to central decision-makers because the people of each region are more aware of their interests and needs.

"We shall, as soon as possible, form a royal committee to study the various aspects of such an approach and put forward the appropriate mechanisms for its implementation," Abd Allah said.

Jordanians from rural areas of the kingdom have long complained that development priorities are skewed to the needs of city dwellers in the capital.