01 February 2011

King of Jordan Dismisses Cabinet

The King of Jordan has dismissed his appointed cabinet in response to popular uprisings triggered by similar uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

The royal palace announced that the king had dismissed Prime Minister Samir Rifai and replaced him with Marouf al-Bakhit, who has served before in the post and is a former general and a onetime ambassador to Israel and Turkey widely viewed as clean of corruption. . . . [the palace said that he] would have the task of “taking practical, swift and tangible steps to launch a real political reform process, in line with the king’s version of comprehensive reform, modernization and development.”

In a brief telephone interview, Mr. Bakhit added that his main objective would be to “take tangible steps to social, political and economic reform and give priority to dialogue with all segments of society.”

His predecessor was criticized as dealing primarily with technocrats and business leaders, while failing to consult with trade unions and the Muslim Brotherhood and to address the concerns of citizens.

The leader of Tunisia fled the country and a new regime is being worked out there. Egypt's President has made concessions including a promise not to run for re-election. Yemen's government has offered concessions to the opposition. The Palestinian Authority, in response to parallel protests has promised to speed up local elections that had been postponed.

Unrest in Syria and Sudan has not yet brought fruit, but a major protest in Syria is planned for this Friday.

In short, Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution has spread far and wide across much of North Africa and the Middle East and has generally produced positive results so far. Most of the countries in this region are ruled by long time dictators or non-symbolic monarches.

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