Jordanians Cautiously Optimistic as Omar Razzaz Becomes New PM

Published June 5th, 2018 - 12:42 GMT
Jordanians protest against austerity for on June 2, 2018. (AFP)
Jordanians protest against austerity for on June 2, 2018. (AFP)

By Randa Darwish

Omar Razzaz, the newly-appointed Prime Minister in Jordan has been dominating headlines in Jordan throughout the last 24 hours, after he was designated to form a new government by King Abdullah II.

This comes after the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki triggered by five-day protests all over the country demanding Mulki’s government to step down. 

Razzaz, born in 1960, is a respected political figure in Jordan who served as the Minister of Education since January 2017. He had been making vital reforms in the country’s education system, including reforms on “Tawjihi” exams which are going to be reformed.

He holds a PhD in Planning with a minor in Economics from Harvard University, and a Post doctorate from the Harvard Law School, according to his biography on the World Science Forum 2017 website.

Many politicians and officials who worked with Razzaz agreed that he always proved his capability during his experience.

Jordanians took to social media after the appointment of Razzaz to express their high hopes depending on Razzaz and their views for the coming.

MP Tareq Khoury, tweeted saying:

Translation: “Whoever knows his [Razzaz] depth must be confident of the coming… A free nationalistic man.. His phone’s ringtone is still ‘Mawtini’ [My home country] ... Congratulations to Mawtini..”

Edward Oakden, the British Ambassador to Jordan congratulated Razzaz as well on Twitter:

In addition to Randa Habib, the author and former-director for AFP Jordan and Amnesty regional director for MENA, who reassured Razzaz selection and said: “Omar Razzaz a very knowledgeable and decent person, would be a right choice to try and find solutions to the crisis.”

Razzaz held several positions previously including the Country Manager in Lebanon Office for the World Bank, Al Ahli Bank Chairman in Jordan as well as Social Security Corporation in addition to Minister of Education.

Also, one of the prominent Lebanese journalists, Rami Khouri, tweeted on Razzaz:

Razzaz was also known for being close to Tawjihi students, as he used address them personally, unlike other politicians in Jordan, during exams period answering all their questions. Tawjihi exams are considered the most important stage of school determining if students are qualified for college or not.

One of the tweets read:

Translation: “You used to respond to us by mentions to help us succeed Tawjihi, now we want you to respond to our demands so Jordan can achieve success, to help in saving investments and stop brain drain, so corruption ends, and for the unjust income tax law, the unbelievable fuel prices and for my right to express my opinion. Don’t let us down after we went out to streets from the far north of the kingdom to the south.”

His experience and knowledge of the economic challenges faced by the kingdom and neighbouring countries in the region apparently qualified him to be the right person in the right place, who is expected to take an approach in changing economic policies of the kingdom after a difficult few years.

Therefore, Jordanians are still determined to protest in streets to fulfill all their demands, including pulling the income tax law proposal, reducing prices of fuel and electricity in addition to a complete overhaul of the government's system and approach.

The image shows a checklist written by protesters, including the resignation of the current government which has a check beside it, in addition to removing the income tax law, reviewing sales tax law, bread subsidies, reviewing the Jordanian Civil Law, reduce fuel and electricity prices and finally, bringing the corrupt before the courts.

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