Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Jordan's Prime Minister Resigns in Wake of Massive Protests Against Austerity
Jordanian protesters raise the flag during a demonstration outside the Prime Minister's office in the capital Amman early this morning

Morning Star, UK

JORDANIAN Prime Minister Hani Mulki stood down today following days of anti-government protests across the country against increasing austerity measures.

He handed his resignation to King Abdullah II as thousands took to the streets in the capital Amman in protest against International Monetary Fund (IMF)-driven reforms. New income taxes and price rises on basic goods including bread have been proposed to deal with Jordan’s faltering economy.

Weekend negotiations between Mr Mulki and trade union leaders failed to resolve the issues, leading to calls for him to step aside.

Unemployment has risen sharply to 18.5 per cent and, despite the country securing a $723m (£542m) three-year IMF loan in 2016, 20 per cent of the population are on the brink of poverty according to government statistics.

Fuel prices have shot up since the beginning of the year and the cost of electricity has rocketed by 55 per cent since February.

Trade unions led the anti-government protests with General Federation of Jordanian Trade Unions spokesman Ali Obus demanding the state “maintain its independence and not bow to IMF demands.”

About 3,000 people gathered outside the prime minister’s office waving Jordanian flags and placards reading “we will not kneel.”

The pro-Western kingdom has suffered from the conflict in neighbouring Iraq, while refugees have fled from Syria to Jordan to escape the seven-year war, placing further stress on the economy.

The king named Harvard-educated Education Minister Omar Razzaz as Mr Mulki’s replacement.

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