Jordan’s new premier vows to combat graft

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Abdul Jalil Mustafa | Arab News

Published — Friday 18 December 2009

Last Update 18 December 2009 3:00 am

AMMAN: New Jordanian Prime Minister Samir Rifai on Thursday pledged to strictly deal with all forms of corruption and favoritism in the country, one of the goals assigned to him by King Abdallah.

Rifai, who along with his 28-member Cabinet was sworn in on Monday, made the remark during a visit to the Anti-Corruption Department. “There will be no leniency in dealing with corruption and the corrupt, and no one will be above the law,” he said.

“Corruption involves not only financial corruption but also administrative corruption, favoritism and other concepts pertaining to political influence and money which the government considers as unacceptable at all,” he added.

Rifai, a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge universities, was picked up by King Abdallah last week as new prime minister and was assigned to oversee the country’s next general elections which he said should be “transparent and fair and present Jordan as an example” of democracy in the region.

The monarch said that the polls should be held before the end of 2010. On Nov. 23, King Abdallah dissolved the lower house of Parliament amid reports of its failure to perform legislative and supervisory duties.

The election of the chamber in November 2007 was marred by irregularities, including charges of vote buying.

The Islamic Action Front (IAF), Jordan’s largest political party, has demanded that the new government give priority to fighting corruption, amending the controversial election law and ensuring fairness of the polling process.

Rifai, a former chairman of the Jordan Dubai Capital, stressed the need for fighting corruption to assure potential foreign investors in Jordan that the country would be a safe haven for their investments.

He said that he planned to sign on Thursday a code of conduct that provides for ”ethical standards” which all Cabinet ministers should comply with.

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