News Release

Protests Against Austerity Force Jordanian PM Out

The New York Times reports: “Jordan’s Prime Minister Quits, as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity.”

PETE MOORE, pwm10 at case.edu
Professor of political science at Case Western Reserve University, Moore is author of Doing Business in the Middle East: Politics and Economic Crisis in Jordan and Kuwait (Cambridge University Press) and wrote the in-depth paper “The Bread Revolutions of 2011 and the Political Economies of Transition” for the Woodrow Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

LAMIS ANDONI, lamisk15 at gmail.com, @LamisAndoni
Andoni is a noted analyst independent journalist based in Amman, Jordan. She was just interviewed by the BBC and Al-Jazeera about the situation in Jordan. She writes to the Institute for Public Accuracy: “Changing prime ministers is no longer sufficient to appease widening discontent as the country is facing a deep economic and political crisis. The new designated prime minister Omar Razzaz is one of the more respected public personalities in the country but he could rapidly lose his credibility if there are no fundamental policy changes.

“Jordan is already bound by an agreement with the IMF [International Monetary Fund] to continue fuel price increases, pass a flawed income tax law and maintain high sales taxes.

“In fact, the middle class is only starting to feel the effects of the austerity measures and price hikes. There is a feeling that the consecutive governments had not sought solutions but bowed to the IMF without making cuts in unnecessary expenditures or presenting alternative plans. It’s important to note that many Jordanians lay the blame at the king’s door as governments have come to be seen as no more than rubber stamps for the palace.

“No doubt there are tremendous pressures on Jordan exercised by the Saudi and the UAE [governments] who attach well-known conditions on aid and investment to and in Jordan. Both countries want the king to totally and fully accept whatever package that Trump includes in the so-called deal of the century [with Israel].

“But this is not enough to get people to rally around the king as there has been a mounting feeling of total disregard to Jordanians as citizens by both the palace and the [successive] governments. Omar Razzaz’s background as a World Bank official is already viewed by suspicion by many activists, so even if he truly tries to make changes he will be under a lot of scrutiny.”