Monarch asks ex-army general to form new government in the wake of streets protests over prices and reforms.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has sacked his government in the wake of street protests and has asked an ex-army general to form a new cabinet, Jordan’s Royal Palace has announced.
King Abdullah’s move on Tuesday comes after thousands of Jordanians took to the streets, inspired by anti-government protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Jordanians had been 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 Jordanian official said the monarch officially accepted the resignation of Rifai, a wealthy politician and former court adviser, and asked Marouf Bakhit to form a new cabinet.
“[Bakhit] is a former general and briefly ambassador to Israel who has been prime minister before. He’s someone who would be seen as a safe pair of hands,” Rosemary Hollis, professor of Middle East policy studies at London’s City University, said.
“I wouldn’t see it as a sign of liberalisation. With his previous premiership, he talked the talk of reform but little actually happened,” she said.
Protests have spread across Jordan in the last few weeks, with demonstrators blaming corruption spawned by free-market reforms for the plight of the country’s poor.
Many Jordanians hold successive governments responsible for a prolonged recession and rising public debt that hit a record $15bn this year in one of the Arab world‘s smallest economies, heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Dr. Marouf Suleiman al-Bakhit , born 1947 is the current Prime Minister of Jordan. He first served as Prime Minister from November 27, 2005 until November 25, 2007. He was previously the Jordanian ambassador to Israel and the national security chief. Bakhit’s main priorities are to maintain security and stability (notice wording) in Jordan..
Why would the Monarch request a former general and ambassador to Israel, to form a new government? Isn’t this similar to Mubarak appointing a Vice President, military intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was no better than himself?
Do these rulers think that people are so ignorant or so uneducated that they can be fooled? Jordanians are very sophisticated and highly educated people. Literacy rate in Jordan is at 91%. Compare that to its neighbors (Syria 83%, Saudi Arabia 85%, Egypt 66%, Palestine 93% and Lebanon 90%). To discount their demands or treat them with disrespect is to ensure more protests.. may be even demanding the monarch to leave!