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Tue 5 Nov 2019 07:45 AM

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Cash-strapped Jordan govt resigns ahead of reshuffle

Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz said the reshuffle was 'necessary to meet the challenges of the coming period'

Cash-strapped Jordan govt resigns ahead of reshuffle

Jordan's foreign debt amounts to more than $40 billion.

Jordan's government resigned Monday ahead of a second cabinet reshuffle in six months, state media reported, as the cash-strapped kingdom remains mired in economic woes.

Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz last reshuffled his cabinet in May. The latest will be his fourth since taking office last year.

Razzaz "asked his ministers to submit their resignations on Monday to pave the way for a government reshuffle in the next few days", state news agency Petra reported.

It quoted Razzaz, a Harvard-educated economist, as saying the reshuffle was "necessary to meet the challenges of the coming period".

An official source told AFP that King Abdullah II had given the government "until the end of the year to come up with economic reforms".

Jordan, whose stability is seen as vital for the volatile Middle East, hosts some 1.3 million refugees from neighbouring war-torn Syria.

Lacking natural resources, the kingdom relies heavily on foreign aid and faces an unemployment rate of 19 percent. Its foreign debt amounts to more than $40 billion.

In June 2018, Jordan was shaken by a week of angry protests against austerity measures that led to the resignation of Razzaz's predecessor Hani Mulki.

On October 6, teachers ended a month-long strike that paralysed some 4,000 public schools after reaching an agreement with the government for a rise in wages.