Jordan’s Incoming PM to Pull Controversial Tax Bill After Protests

Jordan’s incoming Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said Thursday he will rescind a controversial income tax bill that has triggered a week of protests after he is sworn in by King Abdullah.

“An agreement has been found to withdraw the bill,” Razzaz said during an Amman news conference after meeting with lawmakers.

King Abdullah appointed Razzaz, a cabinet member, as the new prime minister Tuesday after Hani Mulki resignation Monday amid massive street protests against his support for austerity measures.

Thousands of angry Jordanians took to the streets to demand the government drop the unpopular reforms derived from International Monetary Fund-driven policies they claim have eroded living standards.

Doctors, lawyers and teachers staged a strike across the country Wednesday, angry over high unemployment, poverty and price increases.

Jordan has blamed its economic woes on instability wracking the region and the burden of hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees without adequate international support.

International lenders have pushed for economic reforms to help reduce Jordan’s public debt, a result of a sluggish economy linked to regional turmoil.

Source: Voice of America