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French Version

Jordan's finance minister steps down amid criticism

Finance Minister Bassem Awadallah has resigned, a government official said, after coming under sharp criticism in Parliament over the dismal state of Jordan's economy.

King Abdullah II said in a letter to Prime Minister Adnan Badran that the resignation was a "concession" to the public in the interests of the country.

In April, Awadallah was named to head the prime minister's Cabinet after being ousted from the previous Cabinet less than two months earlier.

Badran's new government vowed to step up the pace of reform, but it came under attack from a group of 49 MPs in the 110-member house who threatened a no-confidence vote unless the Cabinet's economic team was changed.

"The deputies think these ministers are foreign to Jordan, have no credibility and do not understand Jordan's people or society, or the situation of the poor in this country," deputy speaker Mamdouh Abbadi said in May.

The king said he remained determined to pursue a reform program and condemned its critics, saying they were not being objective.

King Abdullah urged his prime minister to "find people who have the qualities that will allow us to achieve our vision for the future of Jordan," in an apparent call for a reshuffle.

Official statistics show that Jordan's active work force stands at 23 percent, or 1.2 million out of a population of 5.3 million.

Amman,20June2005
Redaction
The Daily Star


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