Jordan's king approves cabinet reshuffle to absorb discontent over economy

Jordan's king approves cabinet reshuffle to absorb discontent over economy
The Jordanian King has approved a cabinet reshuffle in what is being seen as a way to deflect from discontent at rising costs of living.
2 min read
26 February, 2018
Jordan's King Abdullah has approved a cabinet reshuffle [Getty]

Jordan's King Abdullah II has approved a cabinet reshuffle, replacing ministers in key domestic portfolios such as interior, labour and the economy at a time continued economic downturn.

The monarch has final say on key policies, while frequent Cabinet personnel changes are seen as a way of deflecting growing frustration among Jordanians with rising prices and unemployment.

Jordan is struggling with a heavy debt burden and is expected by international lenders to stick to an economic reform program, such as subsidy cuts.

Western allies view Jordan's stability as key to fighting Islamic extremism, and the US recently pledged more than $6 billion in aid through 2022.

Prime Minister Hani Mulki remains in his post.

New ministers were appointed Sunday for key portfolios, among them the economy, interior, labor and water.

The Jordanian government recently came under fire after deciding to ban cancer patients over the age of 60 from receiving treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center.

Amman decided earlier this month to stop treating patients over the age of 60 at the leading centre for cancer treatment, saying they are covered by free healthcare and can instead be treated in a hospital.

The decision left 1,400 patients in uncertainty as to what may soon happen to them and their treatment, sparking criticism.

In the midst of the controversy, the King Hussein Cancer Center announced that it "had no opinion in the government decision", calling for cooperation and a sustainable mechanism to cover the treatment of cancer patients. 

In reaction to the anger, the government has decided to omit patients currently being treated at the centre from the decision. 

Amman also announced the formation of a medical committee for new patients over 60 that will determine the most efficient treatment for patients, whether in government hospitals or the King Hussein Cancer Center.