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Jordan reshuffles cabinet to speed up reforms

Razzaz was appointed PM in June to replace Al Mulki, who resigned to defuse a crisis

Amman – Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Al Razzaz announced a cabinet reshuffle on Thursday that officials said consolidates the grip of technocrats charged with speeding up IMF-guided reforms crucial to rejuvenating economic growth.

Razzaz, a former World Bank economist, was appointed by King Abdullah in June to replace Hani Al Mulki, who resigned to defuse a crisis that saw some of the largest protests in years over IMF-driven austerity measures, including tax hikes.

Razzaz downsized the 29-member cabinet to 27 ministers, and removed the health and higher education ministers over alleged nepotism scandals, in an apparent bid to calm widespread discontent over rising economic hardship and corruption. But he kept the key interior, finance and foreign ministry portfolios unchanged.

Razzaz, seen as a better communicator than Al Mulki, has promised to restore public trust in a country where many blame successive governments for failing to deliver on pledges of reviving growth and curbing corruption.

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