Jordan, times of anger

Jordan, times of anger

Convulsed by massive popular protests against the controversial tax reform, the recent increase in the price of fuel, corruption and the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Al Muki, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan faces a climate of political and social instability, aggravated by the crisis economic situation that the Arab nation is going through.
Photo: Hispan TV The angry anti-government demonstrations that take place in Aman, the capital of Jordan, focus on the rejection of severe measures of austerity against the population promoted by the Executive to fulfill the demands dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), among them the introduction of a 16% indirect tax on consumer goods and the abolition of subsidies on basic products such as bread.
The forced resignation of Al Mulki, designated premier in May 2016, is a sign of his failure in the management of reviving the deteriorated
Jordanian economy, charge now entrusted by King Abdala II to the current Minister of Education, Omar Al Razas, responsible for forming a new Cabinet and reviewing the entire tax system.
According to official sources, the Monarch has also requested the new designated to maintain an “immediate dialogue” with political parties, unions and civil society to reach an agreement on the new law on income tax, which is in the origin of the political crisis.
Nevertheless, the popular protests persist, which have become a general strike, demanding a substantial change in the living conditions of the population and in the improvement of the national economy, burdened by a bulky external debt that represents 94% of its GDP.
According to non-governmental statistics, the unemployment rate in Jordan rises to 18%, while the poverty rate is estimated at 20%.
Political observers point out that among the external factors that have deteriorated and stagnated the Jordanian economy is the turbulent situation in the Middle East, in particular the war against Syria, which has caused a million refugees settled in the Hashemite Kingdom, to which They unite the 2.5 million Palestinian refugees, who are part of the Jordanian population and one million immigrants from Iraq and Egypt.
Jordan is torn between the shock policy imposed by the IMF and the demands of the popular masses for better economic and social conditions, which are reprinting the great upheavals that took place during 2011 and 2012 due to similar demands, which, despite of the government promises of democratic reforms, were not fulfilled.
Amid such circumstances, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth indicated that Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia, instigated the protests in Jordan for their participation in the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OCI), which was held at the end of the month. May the violent repression of the Palestinians after the transfer of the United States Embassy to the Palestinian city of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The dilemma that the Jordanian Kingdom now faces is that of accepting the leonine demands of the IMF or satisfying the demands of a population eager for economic and democratic reforms, a balance difficult to maintain in equilibrium, without greater political and social upheaval.

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