Jordan king replaces PM for "lack of progress"
Jordan 's King Abdullah II accepted yesterday the resignation of Prime Minister Aoun Khassawneh, after accusing him of slow reforms demanded by the public. Khassawneh, visiting Turkey, has been replaced by Fayez Tarawneh, 63, who was prime minister and head of the royal palace in the late 1990s.
"Jordan is in a critical time and can not afford to delay in the implementation of necessary reforms," the King wrote in a letter to Mr. Khassawneh, according to the palace. The kingdom has seen regular popular rallies since January 2011 demanding political and economic reforms and an end to corruption. Protesters have been demanding in particular that the prime minister is derived from the parliamentary majority and not appointed by the king. "I followed the work of government in recent months and I saw that things were not progressing. For now, the achievements are below what we expected, "said the king, accusing the government for giving priority to" certain laws "rather than essential reforms.
Upon his nomination in October 2011, Mr. Khassawneh, a former vice president of the International Court of Justice, aged 62, assured he had "received assurances from the King" he would have "full sovereignty" as Prime Minister to carry out reforms. But these have lagged, with the exception of a new election law approved by the government in early April.
Zaki Bani Rshied, the political bureau chief of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) party of Muslim Brotherhood, the departure of Mr. Khassawneh "shows that the sovereignty which the Prime Minister had spoken about does not exist in Jordan." "All this talk about the reforms that we have heard meant nothing. We have evidence that there is no willingness to undertake reforms, "stressed the head of the IAF.