AMMAN: Jordan’s Prime Minister Bishr Al-Khasawneh on Sunday carried out his first cabinet reshuffle since taking office in October last year.
A royal decree was issued on Sunday approving the reshuffle, which observers have said is a sign of the government struggling to get to grips with the the coronavirus pandemic.
Mohammad Najjar was appointed minister of water and irrigation, Ali Ayed as minister of culture, Wajih Azaizeh as minister of transport, Ahmad Ziadat as minister of justice and Khaled Hneifat as minister of agriculture.
The decree also approved the appointment of Mohammad Khair Abu Qudais as minister of education and minister of scientific research, Mahmoud Kharabsheh as minister of state for legal affairs, Maen Qatamin as minister of labor, Sakher Dudin as minister for media affairs and Mazen Faraya as minister of interior.
The ministers were sworn in before King Abdullah.
King Abdullah tasked Al-Khasawneh in October with forming a new government to follow Omar Razzaz’s cabinet. The government won a lower house vote of confidence on Jan. 16.
Political analyst Abdelhafez Hrout said that Al-Khasawneh reshuffling his cabinet so soon after becoming prime minister is a response to his government’s floundering amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It showed that the government is either incapable of addressing the pandemic, or has no concise strategy to deal with it,” Hrout said.
Political commentator Khaled Qudah said that the move followed a similar pattern to other Jordanian governments that have often resorted to reshuffles “with the aim of alleviating public dismay and experimenting with new options with no clear strategy.”
Qudah said that the former government of Razzaz featured the appointment of 52 ministers in five cabinet reshuffles carried out during his tenure of little more than two years.
“The only solution to such chaotic scene is through a progressive election law that can bring fully fledged parliamentary government,” Qudah said.