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Protest Snowball Knocks Over Jordanian Government

Jordan’s King Abdullah abruptly dismissed his government as the street protest revolution spreads with demands for reforms and lower prices.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/1/2011, 4:08 PM / Last Update: 2/1/2011, 4:18 PM

Agencia Brasil

Jordan’s King Abdullah abruptly dismissed his government Tuesday as the street protest revolution spreads with demands for reforms and lower prices.

As the Mubarak regime gritted its teeth for a million-man rally in Cairo, thousands of Jordanians took to the streets, and King Abdullah quickly met their demands and fired his prime minister, Samir Rafi. The cabinet resigned, and the king named Marouf al-Bakhit, a former army general, as his prime minister-designate after protesters demanded a speed-up in political reforms and lower fuel and food prices.

"Bakhit's mission is to take practical, quick and tangible steps to launch true political reforms, enhance Jordan's democratic drive and ensure safe and decent living for all Jordanians,” The Royal Palace stated.

The Jordanian protests were led by trade unionists, leftists and the Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan’s largest opposition group, but unlike the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, there were no calls to overthrow the monarchy.

King Abdullah, who recently has visited poor areas of the kingdom, told legislators last week that "openness, frankness and dialogue on all issues is the way to strengthen trust between citizens and their national institutions,” the Palace added.

The king’s dismissal of his prime minister may forestall a tide of anger against the king, whose monarchy is widely respected even among opponents

Muslim Brotherhood leader Zaki Bani Irsheid, who heads the radical group’s political arm, warned before the dismissal of the government that King Abdullah’s actions have been "just a public relations campaign that doesn't solve the crisis," in an interview with the Washington Post.