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Jordanians cautious about prospects of latest authorities

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Oct 15, 2020 A brand new Jordanian authorities, headed by Bisher al-Khasawneh, was sworn in earlier than King Abdullah II on Oct. 12, greater than every week after the king accepted the resignation of the federal government of Omar Razzaz. The monarch had dissolved parliament on Oct. 3, on the finish of its four-year time period, which meant the Razazz authorities needed to resign inside every week, as stipulated by the Jordanian Constitution. Khasawneh, 51, spent the final two years as a senior political adviser to King Abdullah. He is a veteran diplomat who served on the Foreign Ministry for years. In his letter of designation Oct. 7, the king requested Khasawneh to deal with numerous key points together with coping with the COVID-19 well being disaster, financial restoration, meals safety, unemployment, schooling, and conducting free and clear elections slated for Nov. 10. But there was criticism on social media for the truth that Khasawneh had fashioned a reasonably large Cabinet of 32 ministers, together with three deputies, 5 ministers of state and three girls. It additionally included 13 new ministers whereas sustaining eight from the Razzaz authorities. The Cabinet included liberals and conservatives alike, elevating questions concerning the capability of members of the Cabinet to work collectively. Razzaz, who took over in June of 2018 following mass protests towards his predecessor, Hani al-Mulki, forcing him to resign, had raised hopes amongst Jordanians when he spoke of a brand new renaissance and forging a brand new social contract. He was unable to make any political reforms whereas his financial plans had did not set off financial development. He was accused of nepotism, appointing mates whereas missing management. But the largest check for Razzaz got here in March when the federal government imposed a full lockdown to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Painful as they have been, the measures have been praised for holding the variety of every day infections, which for a lot of days had reached zero. But no ahead of the nation began opening up varied sectors, the dominion witnessed a sudden spike in infections and mortality charges. By mid-August, the dominion started seeing a gentle rise in infections, and by the primary week of October, the numbers exceeded 1,000 every day instances with dozens of every day deaths. Khasawneh takes over at a vital stage for the nation. The authorities has prolonged a two-day, weekly curfew throughout the dominion in a bid to include the unfold of the virus whereas limiting the injury to the financial system. Under Razzaz, the unemployment fee had jumped to 23%, from 19%, whereas whole normal debt had risen to $45 billion, a rise of $5.6 billion within the final two years. As to the parliamentary elections and regardless of normal voter apathy, particularly among the many youth, there’s nonetheless the chance that the elections might be postponed if the unfold of the coronavirus isn’t contained. Commenting on the make-up of the Khasawneh Cabinet, political commentator Fahd al-Khitan wrote in Al-Ghad every day Oct. 12 that that is primarily a conservative bureaucratic authorities that’s more likely to be extraordinarily cautious when addressing political reforms. “This government does not have the luxury of time and must act fast to confront pending challenges. It must streamline the way it takes its decisions,” Khitan stated.  “But it must be said that under these tough circumstances, no government will enjoy popularity and it should not seek it. Instead, it should work to improve the lives of Jordanians as much as possible,” he added. Strategic researcher and head of the Middle East Center for Media and Political Studies in Amman Amer al-Sabayleh stated the make-up of the Cabinet doesn’t mirror its deal with the 4 important points that have been referred to within the designation letter: well being, financial system, meals safety and agriculture.  Sabayleh advised Al-Monitor he hasn’t seen a real program for this authorities to confront such points or ship a brand new actuality. He stated “the extraordinary circumstances that we face required a slender Cabinet, but instead, we have 31 ministers [32 including the PM] lacking in seasoned bureaucrats.” He added that even within the midst of crises, the formation of the Cabinet relied on conventional strategies of geographic allocations with a view to fulfill everybody. “The only positive thing I see is that Khasawneh spent the last two years at the Royal Court close to the king so he has the advantage of knowing what needs to be done and where other government had gone wrong, but again time is not on his side,” Sabayleh concluded. Columnist at Add-Dustour every day Hussein al-Rawashdeh wrote Oct. 12 that the brand new prime minister will face numerous native challenges apart from these associated to well being and the financial system. “One is the Teachers Association file, which is now before the courts, and I think the government will not back down. … The file will be closed politically,” he wrote.  “The other has to do with the fate of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which the courts ruled is illegal, and that file too will be closed by the government,” he added. Rawashdeh additionally pointed to numerous steps that Jordan would take regionally in relation to the US Middle East peace plan, identified regionally because the deal of the century, and towards recalibrating its ties with its Arab neighbors within the wake of the newest developments. But one critic of the best way Jordanian governments are historically fashioned, who requested anonymity, advised Al-Monitor Jordanians wish to see an actual change in approach and strategies. “In the past 20 years, we have seen 12 prime ministers and 18 governments all formed in the same way, but Jordanians are tired of this formula. It’s like we complain that the soup is salty and all the chef does is to change the spoons!” he concluded.

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