After days of protests Jordan's PM resigns

After days of protests Jordan's PM resigns
Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By Daniel Bellamy with Reuters
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

The protests were the largest for years after the government introduced IMF-approved austerity measures.


Thousands of Jordanians protested for four days outside the prime minister's office in Amman and on Monday they finally forced him out of office.

Hani Mulki tendered his resignation to King Abdullah who immediately asked the Minister of Education Omar al-Razzaz, a former World Bank economist, to form a new government.

There's been widespread anger over a series of tax hikes backed by the International Monetary Fund as well as an end to bread subsidies.

Later, in a sign the tax hikes could be shelved, the Petra news agency cited the speaker of parliament as saying lawmakers were on course to ask the king's permission to hold an exceptional session, with a majority demanding the changes be withdrawn.

Jordan, a staunch U.S. ally that has a peace treaty with Israel, has remained stable through years of regional turmoil.

Police chief Major General Fadel al-Hamoud said security forces had detained 60 people for breaking the law during the protests and 42 security force members had been injured, but protests remained under control.

"Rest assured, Jordan is a safe and secure country, and things are under control," said Major General Hussein Hawatmeh, head of the Gendarmerie security department, appearing along with Hamoud at a news conference.

Mulki, a business-friendly politician, was appointed in May 2016 and given the responsibility of reviving a sluggish economy and business sentiment hit by regional turmoil.

The tax increases have caused his popularity to plummet.

The protests widened on Saturday after Mulki refused to scrap a bill increasing personal and corporate taxes, saying it was up to parliament to decide.

Demonstrators who have converged near the Cabinet office have said they would disband only if the government rescinded the tax bill it sent to parliament last month.

Unions representing tens of thousands of employees in both the public and private sectors have also called for a general strike on Wednesday after their demands for the bill to be scrapped were rejected by the government.

The government says it needs more funds for public services and argues that the tax changes reduce social disparities by placing a heavier burden on high earners.

Opponents say a tough IMF-imposed fiscal consolidation plan has worsened the plight of poorer Jordanians and squeezed the middle class.

Jordan's economy has struggled to grow in the past few years in the face of chronic deficits, as private foreign capital and aid flows have declined.

It's also hosting around 730,000 Syrian refugees and struggles with high unemployment.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Jordan's new PM will drop a tax law bill