Jordan's King Replaces Embattled PM to Defuse Anti-Government Protests

Razzaz served as education minister in the outgoing Mulki government.

He also said political parties, unions and civil society groups must take part in the talks.

Jordanians continue to stage mass rallies despite the resignation of embattled Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki and the king's order for a full review of controversial tax reforms.

Reports on Monday of Razzaz's impending appointment did not entirely quell the protests.

King Abdullah attributed the political and economic crisis which has led to protests to the country bearing the burden of hosting Syrian refugees despite the decline in worldwide aid, and accused the global community of failing to fulfil its duties towards Jordan.

Police said on Monday the protests remained under control, though officers had detained 60 people in recent days.

Jordan, a key U.S. ally, has largely avoided the unrest witnessed by other countries in the region since the Arab Spring revolts broke out in 2011, although protests did flare late that year after the government cut fuel subsidies.

According to official estimates, 18.5 percent of Jordan's population of 9.5 million is unemployed, while 20 percent are on the brink of poverty.

"We want to change the path, not the individuals", he said.

Lawmakers were on course to ask the king's permission for an early exceptional session, with a majority demanding the withdrawal of the tax law, the speaker of parliament has said.

Another, who gave his first name as Khalil, said Jordan's political system, which grants the monarchy vast executive powers, should become more democratic and accountable.

Since January, Jordan - which suffers from high unemployment and has few natural resources - has seen repeated price rises including for staples such as bread, as well as extra taxes on basic goods.

For almost a week, the capital and other cities have been hit by angry rallies against reforms backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that have brought repeated price hikes.

Jordan's government is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to carry out economic reforms and austerity measures to rein in growing public debt. Jordan was rocked by unrest in 2012 when the International Monetary Fund told the government to lift gasoline prices. Opponents say a tough IMF-imposed fiscal consolidation plan has worsened the plight of poorer Jordanians and squeezed the middle class.

The price of fuel has risen on five occasions since the beginning of the year, while electricity bills have shot up 55 percent since February.


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