Jordan's king vows to fight corruption after protests

With a lack of natural resources to boost state coffers, Jordan relies heavily on foreign aid and faces an unemployment rate of 18.5%
Jordan's king vows to fight corruption after protests
King Abdullah II of Jordan (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
By AFP
Sun 14 Oct 2018 05:57 PM

Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday vowed authorities would crack down on corruption in the country, following mass protests against graft and price rises earlier this year.

"All Jordanians have an equal right to justice, and corruption will not be left unaddressed to become a chronic social illness," the king said in a speech to mark the opening of parliament in Amman.

"I hereby affirm that the state's institutions are well capable of uprooting corruption and holding to account those who dare to encroach on public funds," he added.

Thousands of Jordanians hit the streets at the start of June to protest against corruption, price rises and austerity measures.

The week of mass demonstrations forced the prime minister's resignation and the withdrawal of a controversial income tax bill.

With a lack of natural resources to boost state coffers, Jordan relies heavily on foreign aid and faces an unemployment rate of 18.5 percent.

In 2016 Amman secured a $723-million loan from the International Monetary Fund, but the resultant economic reforms led to price hikes. 

The king on Sunday acknowledged "dissatisfaction with the way current challenges are being addressed".

"The process of development in Jordan, as in other countries, has been marred by some mistakes and challenges, which we must learn from, resolve, and prevent from reoccurring, so that we may move forward," he said.

Abdullah put the current situation down to "a weakening (of) public trust in government institutions, as well as an atmosphere of scepticism".

Stability in Jordan is seen as fundamental to the region and in the wake of protests Amman was offered a $2.5 billion aid package from three Gulf backers.

More than $1 billion has already been deposited in the central bank by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait, a Jordanian government source said earlier this month.

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