Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Jordan's king appoints economist to form new government, calls for tax dialogue

World       by Mahmood Idrees | Published World by Mahmood Idrees | Published
Kenny Thornton | 08 June, 2018, 07:34

Razzaz was education minister in Mulki's government. He said political parties, unions and civil society groups must take part in the talks.

They are the latest in a series of measures since Amman secured a $723-million three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

A government official close to the king, stated that, "Prime Minister Hani Mulki submitted his resignation to the king this afternoon during a meeting at the Husseiniya Palace and the king accepted the resignation".

Prime Minister Hani Mulki stepped down on Monday in an effort to quell the unrest but his departure - and King Abdullah's call to review the law - appear to have done little to reduce public anger.

Despite Mulki's resignation, daily street protests continued, with organizers saying they would not quit until the tax bill has been scrapped.

Late Monday, the king had warned Jordan was "at a crossroads", blaming the economic woes on regional instability, the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees and a lack of global support.

Police said on Monday the protests remained under control, though officers had detained 60 people in recent days.

1 with Garbine Muguruza
Kerber again failed to serve out the set after breaking back for 6-5 as Halep forced a breaker. That match was also won, comprehensively, by Stephens for her first grand slam crown.

Mulki resigned on Monday, as Jordan's King Abdullah II tried to get a handle on the biggest protests in the kingdom in several years.

"Even if they removed Mulki and replaced him with anyone else in the world and the policies don't change, that would mean we have achieved nothing", she said.

Jordan's state-owned Petra news agency indicated that the country's lawmakers might revoke the tax hikes, noting that the speaker of parliament has asked the king for permission to hold a session to shelve the measure, according to Reuters.

While Razzaz's appointment has not yet been confirmed, the Harvard-educated economist has been referred to a more "likeable" character who is opposed to measures which hurt the poor, Reuters said.

Fuel prices have risen five times since the start of the year, while electricity bills have surged by 55 per cent since February. His appointment nevertheless sends a positive message to foreign donors that Jordan will press ahead with reforms, though in a gradual way, they said. Jordan was rocked by unrest in 2012 when the International Monetary Fund told the government to lift gasoline prices. Critics say the current tax proposal unfairly targets the poor and the middle class.

Razzaz then returned to Jordan to head the Social Security Corporation, and from 2011-12, led the national team responsible for preparing a national employment strategy.

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