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Issues bigger than the government

Aug 07,2017 - Last updated at Aug 07,2017

The rumour mill in Jordan is churning out news by the hour. People are exposed to all sorts of information, misinformation and disinformation. They receive on their mobiles jokes, articles, critiques and short video clips. 

The item which is grabbing people’s attention is whether Prime Minister Hani Mulki’s government is staying or leaving.

Some rumours predict a speedy resignation instigated by the deep humiliation which the vast majority of Jordanians endured after an Israeli embassy guard shot dead two Jordanians in cold blood.

That feeling was given a fillip by the Jordanian government’s wobbly handling of the affair allowing the killer to leave the country without consulting with concerned legal authority.

That hurt feeling was rubbed in by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he received the killer, hugged him and plodded him to go and spend time with his girlfriend. 

The whole incident eventually evinced good results. The Israeli government, buckling under Palestinian, American and Jordanian pressure, removed all electronic detectors and cameras from the entrances to Al Aqsa Mosque. Eventually, they also lifted the age limit of the entrants. 

The current Cabinet of Jordan is now put under pressure by some parties to resign. Of course, King Abdullah is in a position to sack the government. Parliament cannot cast a vote of confidence during an extraordinary session. The earliest time, it can do that is in October. The government may feel incapacitated and succumbs to public pressure and chooses voluntarily to resign.

The King visited the Prime Ministry last week and voiced confidence in the Cabinet, thus alienating any notions of quick departure. Moreover, the King insists that governments should stay on for at least one parliamentary cycle of four years.

The previous government of Abdullah Ensour withstood all the pressure to resign after it adopted stringent economic measures. Yet, it survived for four years. His Majesty would like to see this tradition dig its roots in the shifty Jordanian political scene.

Moreover, the King has so much on his plate. First and for most is the urge to deal with the Palestinian issue, which could eventually boil over as a result of expansion of Israeli colonies in the West Bank or encroachments on the holy places in Jerusalem, or as a result of a potential war in the region between Israel and Hizbollah or Hamas or both.

The other issue, of course, is the deep rift among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. If it goes on unchecked it could lead to catastrophic political and economic results. Jordan, which is dependent on its economic partners in the GCC stands to lose a lost if the GCC broke asunder. 

Terrorism is another challenge. The military defeat of Daesh and Al Nusra may change into a war of attrition, forcing Jordan’s army and security forces to remain vigilant and in constant state of mobilisation. 

 

Changing the government would only happen if the King reaches the opinion that its continuity poses a threat, or if the people in Jordan insist on its departure. Both of these possibilities, and as far as I can see, are not happening. The current Cabinet of Mulki has an opportunity to serve until the dissolution of Parliament.

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