Jordan’s King Abdullah replaces 10 ministers in government reshuffle

Cabinet changes are common in Jordan, which is enduring a Covid-19 surge and a recession

A handout picture released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on October 12, 2020, shows Bisher al-Khasawneh being sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Jordan, in the capital Amman. (Photo by Yousef ALLAN / Jordanian Royal Palace / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE / YOUSEF ALLAN" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Jordan’s King Abdullah II appointed new interior and justice ministers on Sunday in a Cabinet reshuffle after a high-profile breach of coronavirus rules by their predecessors.

Eight other ministers were also appointed in the reshuffle. Jordan's health, finance and foreign ministers are unchanged.

Official media said Mazen Al Faraya, an officer who heads the country’s coronavirus crisis management team, has become the Minister of Interior.

Former law professor Ahmad Al Ziadat was appointed Justice Minister.

Cabinet reshuffles are common in Jordan, which is battling an economic recession made worse by a surge of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has had 12 prime ministers in the past 20 years.

The current prime minister, Bisher Al Khasawneh, is a former diplomat appointed by King Abdullah at the height of coronavirus crisis in October.

The interior and justice ministers were dismissed two weeks ago after they attended a banquet at a restaurant without observing coronavirus restrictions.

Samir Mubaidin and Bassam Al Talhouni were among the most senior civilian officials in charge of enforcing the rules.

Jordan has 10 million people and the Cabinet is comprised of more than 30 ministers.

A new government spokesman, businessman Sakher Dodine, who is the son of a late Jordanian diplomat, was also appointed in the reshuffle.

The previous spokesman, Ali Al Ayed, was appointed Culture Minister.

New labour, education, transport and agriculture ministers were also appointed.

Most of Jordan’s official 4,900 deaths and 422,000 coronavirus infections were registered since October.

Officials say that over the past month a more infectious virus strain, first reported in Britain, has become the main cause of infection in Jordan.