The Latest: New Jordan PM says economy is top priority

Thursday , June 14, 2018 - 6:33 AM

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The Latest on Jordan’s economic crisis, which has sparked protests that brought down the prime minister (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Jordan’s new prime minister says that fixing the economy will be the top priority of his Cabinet.

Omar Razzaz says he plans to work closely with various segments of society as his government tries to overcome the country’s economic challenges.

After swearing in his Cabinet on Thursday, he said “our top priorities obviously are the economic situation, the economic challenges, and the political implications locally.”

He says: “We will be addressing these essentially and mainly by opening the books, exploring with the population, with representatives, with the civil society.”

Razzaz was appointed last week after widespread protests against a planned tax hike forced his predecessor to leave office. Razzaz has canceled the tax plan.

3:30 p.m.

Jordan’s new prime minister has sworn in his Cabinet as he begins the difficult task of reforming the country’s struggling economy.

Omar Razzaz took office last week after widespread protests over a proposed tax increase forced his predecessor to step down. He immediately promised to rescind the tax plan.

The new Cabinet must defuse public anger at economic policies seen by many as unfair, while still introducing reforms demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

The Royal Court said the new ministers were sworn in Thursday at Al-Husseinyah Palace. Razzaz’s Cabinet does not include any members of his predecessor’s economic team.

Razzaz has promised a more inclusive approach with labor unions and other sectors of the economy. But earlier this week, he also warned that “there is no magic stick.”

9:25 a.m.

Jordan’s new prime minister won’t have much time to deliver on promises to rescind a proposed tax increase and implement economic reforms with more consideration for the country’s struggling poor and middle class.

Union leaders who toppled the previous prime minister last week through widespread protests say they will go back to the streets if his successor, Omar Razzaz, does not deliver.

Razzaz, a former senior World Bank official, faces a tough task: He must defuse public anger at economic policies seen by many as unfair, while introducing reforms that can reduce Jordan’s debt-to-GDP ratio to a level acceptable to international lenders.

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