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Razzaz’ supporters in denial

Oct 15,2018 - Last updated at Oct 15,2018

It is hard to avoid the realisation that many among the supporters of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz are in denial. There is no sign that the public has grown more enthusiastic about his government.  Perhaps, we need to subordinate reason to reasonable. The government has done nothing to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis on Jordanians.  Nevertheless, some still reiterate the same boring mantra “Razzaz is popular” even when the public trust in the government and Razzaz has significantly dropped in recent polls.

Let us be honest and face reality as it is. First, the Cabinet reshuffle is meaningless. Save for Mohammed Abu Rumman, all other newcomers to the Cabinet would not add much. Not surprisingly, the reshuffle came to reflect the same loathed geographical, ethnic and sectarian balances. Meaning, the reshuffle is certainly the same practice made by former prime ministers. Many Jordanians — myself included — would say, hang on; we have seen this movie before! This situation is fraught with the risks of further deteriorating public trust in the government. 

It is not as if we do not know what makes a good reshuffle. At least, Razzaz should have come with some benchmarks for firing and hiring. The reshuffle did not touch key portfolios. To be more specific, the reshuffle has nothing to do with ministries that are seen by the public as the main reason for the economic crisis. Explicit in the Cabinet reshuffle is the lack of desire for a change in the economic paradigm that has been behind the deterioration of the national economy. 

Interestingly, all centres of powers in the country have backed Razzaz in his task to manage the government. Therefore, it is a rare opportunity for a prime minister to do whatever he thinks is good for the country. With that in mind, his choices are below the bar. For instance and contrary to his pledge, he appointed some ministers who failed in the elections. This only pushed people to ponder whether the prime minister has a good judgment.

In the past, we saw prime ministers who possessed the quality of leadership across the board. By their admission, they failed when they had to make wrong choices. Now, reading the posts and comments on social media reveals that the public is not happy with the Cabinet reshuffle. 

I still think that no amount of disinformation can conceal the grim reality in Jordan. The current government has done nothing to address the pressing issues for Jordanians. Unemployment, poverty and inflation remain the key issues for the public. Sadly, the government puts the three issues on back burner and the Cabinet reshuffle only reflects this conclusion.  Some liberals in Jordan — who never experienced poverty and who do not care about the hike in prices — see in Razzaz as a vehicle for realising their political agenda.  If I were close to the prime minister, I would suggest that he distance himself from them because he is different.

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