Jordan’s king appoints new prime minister

Jordan’s king has appointed a new prime minister following days of mass protests over controversial plans to hike taxes.

Hani Mulki quit on Monday following a meeting with King Abdullah, amid widespread anger over his austerity programme.

Thousands have taken to the streets in the last week, the largest protests Jordan has experienced in years.

His replacement is Omar Razzaz, who served as education minister in the outgoing government and was formerly a World Bank Economist.

During his time as education minister, the Harvard alumni oversaw the overhaul of Jordan’s state education system.

State media quoted King Abdullah as saying that regional turmoil has caused Jordan’s economic woes and that “the problem does not lie in Jordan”.

The country’s government has imposed a series of economic measures in the last two years, including new laws to increase income taxes by at least 5% and corporation tax by between 20% and 40%.

The aim was to cut Jordan’s $37bn (£28bn) debt, with the government imposing austerity measures and abolishing bread subsidies.

Jordan’s king has the final say on all policy issues, and will presumably define the limits of any economic and political reforms that Mr Razzaz wants to implement.

In an appointment letter addressed to the new PM, King Abdullah called on the new government to carry out a wide-ranging review of the kingdom’s tax system and come up with a new tax bill.

He also expressed sympathy for ordinary Jordanians, who have long complained their taxes are not being spent properly. Critics claim the current tax plan unfairly hits the poor and the middle class.


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