Jordan's king appoints new ministers in reshuffle focused on domestic affairs

New government spokesman and energy minister appointed

Jordan’s King Abdullah II replaced nine ministers in the 31-member Cabinet on Monday, the fourth reshuffle in the government appointed a year ago.

The king did not change any of the core portfolios in the government relating to security, foreign policy and finance, but changed the energy minister and brought in a new government spokesman, who has the rank of minister.

The government has been headed by Bisher Al Khasawneh, a former diplomat, since October 2020.

Reshuffles are common in Jordan, which has had at least a dozen governments since King Abdullah succeeded his father, King Hussein, in 1999.

As well as energy and information, the environment, education, legal affairs and culture, labour and industry portfolios were changed.

A new investment ministry headed by Khairi Amro, a former banker, was created.

Saleh Al Kharabsha, a mechanical engineer who worked on government projects, was appointed energy minister.

Jordan does not produce significant amounts of oil or gas, but the kingdom has solar energy potential.

In the last two months the government has proposed sending electricity to Lebanon through Syrian regime areas, as apart of foreign policy moves widely seen as aimed at accommodating the regime of President Bashar Al Assad.

The new Minister of State for Media Affairs, who will act as government spokesman, is Fasial Al Shboul. He was formerly head of the official news agency.

The king has all significant powers in Jordan. He commands the army and the country’s foreign policy.

A committee formed by the king last week submitted proposals for political reforms, which did not touch on the monarch’s powers.

The kingdom of 10.7 million people is in recession. It is one of the largest recipients of US aid, and has 2,000 American military personnel in the country.

Unemployment is officially at a record high of 24 per cent and almost 10,000 of its people have been recorded as having died from the coronavirus.

Updated: October 11th 2021, 2:52 PM