Jordan’s king swears in new cabinet led by ex-World Bank economist

Jordan’s King Abdullah on 14 June 2018 swore in a new government led by a former World Bank economist and mandated to review a disputed tax system after widespread protests against IMF-driven austerity measures. the new cabinet decided at a meeting after the swearing-in ceremony decided to withdraw a contentious personal and corporate tax bill which the previous government had sent to parliament and triggered the protests.

Abdullah, a relatively secure U.S. ally in the conflict-ridden Middle East, appointed Omar al-Razzaz, a Harvard-educated economist outside the ranks of the traditional political elite, as prime minister last week. Razzaz replaces Hani Mulki, a business-friendly politician who was dismissed to defuse public anger that triggered some of the largest popular protests in years.

Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and in provincial towns earlier this month against a series of tax rises since the start of the year. Protesters called for sacking the government and scrapping a tax bill which unions and civic groups blamed for worsening poverty and unemployment.

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