AMMAN - Jordan's electoral authority on Tuesday set January 23 as the date for a general election after King Abdullah II dissolved parliament despite a boycott pledge by the opposition Muslim Brotherhood.

"In line with a royal decree to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Independent Election Commission decided today to set the vote for Wednesday, January 23," the commission said in a statement carried by the official Petra news agency.

"Applications to run for parliament will start on December 22 and last for three days. Government employees who wish to run for parliament must resign before October 22."

More than two million people have registered to vote, the commission said.

Jordan has a population of 6.7 million, of whom 3.1 million are entitled to vote, according to the commission.

King Abdullah last week swore in a new government led by Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur to prepare for the election after he dissolved parliament at the start of October and called a snap poll.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition movement, has said it will boycott the election in protest at constituency boundaries that it says are unfair, and at the failure to move towards a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister, rather than one named by the king.

"The Islamist movement's position definitely has not changed. Almost all our reform demands have not been met, and the regime is still insisting on its position," Jamil Abu Baker, spokesman of the Brotherhood, told AFP.

"Such announcements will not affect us as long as the electoral law is not reformed. And there are no genuine reforms to form a base for better and broad political change."

The new prime minister's key challenge will be to persuade the Brotherhood to back down on its boycott decision, after the king told him that his government must ensure all Jordanians take part.

He met Islamists leaders and trade unionists on Thursday before announcing his cabinet line-up, but the opposition said in a statement "there was nothing new in the meeting."

Mohammad Masri, politics researcher at the University of Jordan's Centre for Strategic Studies, said the election "is likely to be a reproduction of previous polls."

"I do not think the election will meet people's expectations since the Arab Spring," Masri told AFP, referring to the demands for democratic reform that have swept the Arab world since the overthrow of autocratic regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen last year.

"If the Islamists decide to take part under the current law, the political cost will be high," Masri said.

"At the same time, if the government turns the election into a real success, the Islamist movement will be in an embarrassing situation."

In an exclusive interview with AFP last month, the king said a decision by the Islamists to boycott the vote was "a tremendous miscalculation."

"So I am telling the Muslim Brotherhood, you have a choice. To stay in the street or to help build the new democratic Jordan," he said.

According to the constitution, elections are supposed to take place every four years but Jordan also held early polls in 2010 after the king dissolved parliament.

The Brotherhood boycotted those polls too in protest at constituency boundaries which they say over-represent loyalist rural areas at the expense of urban areas seen as Islamist strongholds.