Jordan protests resume despite resignation of embattled prime minister

Jordanians march toward the office of outgoing Prime Minister Hani Mulki early Tuesday to demand the scrapping of proposed tax increases. (AP)
Updated 05 June 2018

Jordan protests resume despite resignation of embattled prime minister

AMMAN, Jordan: Anti-government protests resumed in Jordan despite the resignation of the country’s prime minister who had led the push for unpopular austerity measures.
Several thousand Jordanians marched toward the office of outgoing Prime Minister Hani Mulki overnight and into early Tuesday, demanding the government scrap proposed tax increases which critics say mostly target the poor and the middle class.
Riot police scuffled with some of the marchers, trying to keep them away from the building, but the fifth street protest in as many days was largely peaceful.
Mulki resigned on Monday, as Jordan’s King Abdullah II tried to get a handle on the biggest protests in the kingdom in several years.
The monarch, who has the ultimate say on policy decisions, promised change, but gave no specifics on possible reforms.
Meanwhile, Mulki is to serve as caretaker.
Jordanian media, including the government-linked Al-Rai newspaper, widely reported Monday that the current education minister, Omar Razzaz, was tapped as Mulki’s successor. Razzaz had previously held senior positions in the World Bank and is considered a reformer.
Still, there has been no official announcement, and it was not clear when and if Razzaz would be appointed.
Protest organizers have said they seek real change, including a rescinding of the tax bill, and that personnel changes at the top are irrelevant without fundamental reforms. It’s not clear whether Mulki’s eventual replacement would have such a mandate.
In the march, which started late Monday, some of the protesters chanted, “No to Mulki, No to Razzaz.”
An umbrella organization for more than a dozen unions and professional organizations said it would go ahead with a planned one-day strike on Wednesday, while several other unions said they would suspend their protests to give the country a chance to solve its problems after the resignation of Mulki.
Jordan’s government is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to carry out economic reforms and austerity measures to rein in growing public debt.
The kingdom has experienced an economic downturn in part because of prolonged conflict in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and a large influx of refugees several years ago. The official unemployment rate has risen above 18 percent, and it’s believed to be double that among young Jordanians.


French foreign minister arrives in Sudan to meet new leaders

Updated 16 September 2019

French foreign minister arrives in Sudan to meet new leaders

  • Jean-Yves Le Drian is the second top western diplomat to visit Sudan this month
  • SUNA says Le Drian will meet with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the newly appointed Sovereign Council

CAIRO: France’s foreign minister has arrived in Sudan to meet with the African country’s new leaders, weeks after the formation of the first civilian-led government since the military ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April.
Sudan’s state-run news agency said Jean-Yves Le Drian landed in the capital, Khartoum, on Monday. He’s the second top western diplomat to visit Sudan this month, following Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
SUNA says Le Drian will meet with Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, the head of the newly appointed Sovereign Council, as well as Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Foreign Minister Assma Abdalla.
The visit comes two weeks after the formation of a power-sharing government by the pro-democracy movement and the generals who overthrew of Al-Bashir after months of mass protests against his rule.