Jordan is well known for changes and reshuffles at the highest levels of government. While the previous Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour held office for more than three years, he had over 70 ministers on his team during that time. The current Prime Minister Hani Al-Mulki is continuing that legacy of instability announcing his second reshuffle after less than seven months in office.
Many believe that the main challenge for Jordan is economic reforms to address the serious issues in the economy, and very little has been achieved on this. Jordan also faces very serious problems with radicalization, general security and coordination of the bureaucracy. Jordan also faces the challenge of restoring relations with neighboring countries including Syria and Iraq, as well as reconnecting with regional players such as Iran and Turkey. Without a clear strategy and professional operators to implement, these issues will never be addressed.
The failure to deliver concrete progress in addressing the economy or deradicalization is in part driven by the lack of stability in key ministries such as the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Youth. Without stability or any progress in tackling the key issues, this government is likely to be another that treads water and achieves nothing.
Many observers believe that Mulki, much like many of his predecessors, is not a leader or a team player. Any reshuffle must be based on national interests with a strategic vision to address the key issues that are facing the country.
Whatever the real reasons behind the reshuffle, this kind of power politics will always have a negative impact on both citizens and state. It adds tension to the already difficult political climate and gives the impression that government is completely outdated and unable to address the concerns of the Jordanian public.
What Jordan needs today is a government that can bring tangible changes to the lives of the people at all levels of service delivery, economic reform and to communicate the policies and achievements. The risks of such a political attitude is the disillusionment of Jordanians who are more likely to consider not only that change is impossible but also that attempts to change are futile.
The most serious problem is the continuous erosion of confidence that current or future governments are capable of addressing internal or regional challenges.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that this reshuffle has changed anything as far as government policy is concerned. It is unlikely to last if the economic situation does not change and the impacts of regional terrorism continue to escalate. The most likely outcome is ongoing change and instability with no real outcomes for the people or the country.
Dr. Amer Al Sabaileh