Saudi Arabia on Sunday held a joint Arab meeting with Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE in order to offer support to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, following mass protests that rocked his country since last week over recent IMF-backed austerity measures, which led to Hani Al-Mulki to resign as rime minister.
The Saudi Royal Court on Friday said in a statement that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud held a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab of Emirates to “discuss means of supporting Jordan to overcome its current crisis.”
On Thursday, Jordan’s newly appointed prime minster, Harvard-educated Omar Al-Razzaz, said he would withdraw the proposed income tax bill, after consulting with members of both houses of parliament, noting that there was a consensus to drop the controversial draft law.
However, the protests that started last week continued, with hundreds of Jordanians demonstrating in the streets of Amman and other cities, against the hiking of fuel and electricity prices and the new income tax bill.
Last week, Al-Mulki quit as prime minster following a meeting with King Abdullah II, in a bid to contain a wave of angry demonstrations that swept the streets, demanding the changing of the government.
Since the end of May, tens of thousands of Jordanians have flooded the streets of Amman and other cities in protest against the government’s hikes in fuel prices of up to 5.5% and a 19% hike in electricity prices, as well as plans for a new income tax.
The repeated increases and austerity measures come as part of demands for an International Monetary Fund three-year loan agreement worth $723m, signed in 2016. The new increases in fuel prices is the fifth since the beginning of 2018, while electricity bills have been raised by 55% since February.