AMMAN: The entire Jordanian Cabinet resigned on Wednesday, signaling a major government reshuffle.
The official Jordanian news agency, Petra, said that Prime Minister Omar Razzaz “asked his ministerial team to submit their resignations in preparation for a Cabinet reshuffle in the coming days.”
According to Petra, Razzaz stressed: “The reshuffle comes in line with the requirements to address challenges and achieve the government's priorities and plans.”
Mamdouh Abadi, a former deputy prime minister, told Arab News that the idea of mass resignations has become part of the norm in Jordanian politics. “Ever since the 1980s, when a particular minister refuses to resign in a small reshuffle, all Jordanian Cabinet members present their resignations en masse, allowing the prime minister to decide who to keep and whose resignation to accept.”
Hassan Barari, a professor of international relations at the University of Jordan, said that the individuals who will change are unknown, but that: “The aim of this reshuffle is internal, not external. Razzaz wants to address some pressing domestic issues and he feels handicapped by some ministers not delivering what is needed.”
Barari added: “There is no change in politics or policy, the only explanation I can see in this reshuffle is internal.”
The Cabinet reshuffle is taking place after important personnel changes occurred in the royal court and the general intelligence directorate. It also comes before the expected announcement of the US-Middle East Plan, although most experts do not expect the change to affect Jordanian policy or positions.
Last week, the Jordanian royal court made important changes among several officials in sensitive and senior positions. Bisher Khasawneh became the senior official at court, while Manar Dabas, the director of the King’s office, has become a special advisor.
One of the major changes made by King Abdullah was the replacement of the director of the General Intelligence Department, General Adnan Al-Jundi, who held one of the most influential positions in the country. The palace issued a statement saying the king had decided to retire Al-Jundi and replace him with Gen. Ahmed Husni, who has served in several senior intelligence posts.
Jordan is going through a difficult economic period with unemployment at high rates due in part to a large young population and a lack of private sector jobs. The country’s public sector is bloated, and national debt is rising. A year ago, 40 days of protests against a controversial income tax law brought in liberal-minded Harvard University graduate Razzaz, but he has had a hard time producing change.
It is not clear when the reshuffle will be completed and the newly established Cabinet will be sworn in. Most analysts expect it to take place within 48 hours of the resignations, and after consultations with the king.