jordan prime minister Hani Mulki

  • Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki resigned on Monday after thousands protested his government’s plans to raise taxes. 
  • King Abdullah II accepted Mulki’s resignation and has reportedly tasked former education minister Omar al-Razzaz with forming a new government. 
  • Protests began last week in the capital of Amman against new tax proposals aimed at tackling the nation’s growing debt.
  • While Jordan has remained relatively stable during periods of turmoil in the Middle East, the country’s debt accounts for 95% of its GDP, and the country relies heavily on international aid.

Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki stepped down on Monday after thousands protested the government’s plans to raise taxes. 

King Abdullah II accepted Mulki’s resignation and has tasked former education minister Omar al-Razzaz with forming a new government, sources told Reuters.

The king thanked Mulki for his “bravery” in making unpopular decisions in a letter accepting his resignation. He also asked Mulki to remain in a caretaker role until a new government is formed, Reuters reported. Mulki held several ministerial roles in the past before being appointed prime minister in 2016.

But his resignation was likely given in an attempt to calm protesters who have repeatedly called for his dismissal over tightened economic policies. The government has changed its income tax law several times in the last few years and, earlier this year, implemented a 50-100 percent tax on food staples, aimed at tackling the nation’s growing budget deficit.

Protests began last week in the capital of Amman and spread across the country against newly proposed measures to increase income tax and other austerity measures, backed by the International Monetary Fund.

Police in Amman fired tear gas and blocked roads to prevent protesters from reaching government offices, the BBC reported. Dozens of people were detained and more than 40 security members were injured in clashes.

jordan peace protester

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.

Still, many protesters have refused to back down, despite Mulki’s dismissal. 

Protests continued on Monday evening for the fifth consecutive day, furthering demands for a “new approach” to government operations.

While Jordan has remained relatively stable during recent periods of turmoil in the Middle East, the country’s debt has reached $40 billion, equivalent to 95 percent of the country’s GDP, and the country relies heavily on international aid.

SEE ALSO: Jordanians renew protests against IMF driven-tax hikes

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