Reports: Government Change in Jordan Expected Sunday

Published June 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Jordanian deputy Ali Abu Ragheb, the likely candidate to head the new government in Jordan met lengthily Friday with current prime minister Abdul Rau’f Rawabdeh, in what seemed a transition of office procedure, according to local press Saturday. 

Newspaper reports expected that Abu Ragheb will be assigned officially by King Abdullah II on Sunday to form the new government. 

The reports expected that the new government’s composition will be technocrat. They said geographical representation will not be adopted as a criterion in selecting to candidates for portfolios. 

Press sources, who asked for anonymity, told Albawaba.com that Abu Ragheb has already consulted former premiers on the formation of his government. They said that figures known for their liberal orientations are nominated for the new cabinet. These include Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s ambassador to the US, and former information minister, Karim Kuwar, a computer company president, and Nasser Lawzi, the information mister who reigned from Rawabdeh’s government following a dispute with the latter over his information policies. 

The new cabinet will have on board two female ministers at least, according to the sources. Candidates are Reem Badran, head of Investment Promotion Corporation, Nancy Bakeer, secretary general of the Social Development Ministry and Alia Hatoug, secretary general of the Ministry of Tourism. 

The same sources confirmed that no MPs will be part of the new government, except for the premier-to- be, who is a Lower House member representing Amman. 

Albawaba.com tried to contact Abu Ragheb, but he was not available for comment. 

Rawabdeh’s government, the first in King Abdullah’s reign and 84th in Jordan’s history, has been under criticism by the media for its conservative policies and unjustified delay in carrying out changes at the social and economic levels. 

Rawabdeh’s government was accused of hindering the law related to the media free zone, and passiveness regarding the amendment to article 340 of the penal code on “honor killing”. 

The current cabinet was also accused of circumlocution over enacting a law that transforms the red sea port of Aqaba into a free zone, the project which Abu Ragheb is in charge with. 

Meanwhile, AFP correspondent in Amman, Randa Habib, denied that Rawabdeh has called her to his office and asked her to dismiss reports the agency office in Amman had published on the imminent change of government, as reported Thursday by the weekly tabloid, Shihan. 

Habib said that she received a call from the premier, “who was friendly.” 

“If the Royal Court or the prime minister asked me to dismiss the news, I would do that as dictated by my profession’s norms,” the reporter said – Albawaba.com 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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