Jordan's King Abdullah may ask PM to resign in wake of protests: Sources

Jordan's King Abdullah was expected on Monday to ask Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign in a bid to soothe widespread anger over economic policies that has sparked the largest protests in several years, according to political sources.

King Abdullah of Jordan (left) was expected to ask Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign in a bid to soothe widespread anger over economic policies.
King Abdullah of Jordan (left) was expected to ask Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign in a bid to soothe widespread anger over economic policies.PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

AMMAN (REUTERS) - Jordan's King Abdullah was expected on Monday (June 4) to ask Prime Minister Hani Mulki to resign in a bid to soothe widespread anger over economic policies that has sparked the largest protests in several years, political sources said.

The dismissal of Mulki was demanded in a series of protests against IMF-backed tax increases that have shaken the kingdom. The sources said King Abdullah had ordered Mulki for an audience in his palace later on Monday.

Mulki, a business-friendly politician, was appointed in May 2016 and given the responsibility of reviving a sluggish economy and business sentiment hit by regional turmoil.

Public anger over IMF-driven government policies has grown since a steep general sales tax hike earlier this year and the abolition of bread subsidies, a staple item for the poor. The increases have caused Mulki's popularity to plummet.

Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets of the capital, Amman, and in main provincial towns on Sunday in an extension of protests that began last Wednesday.

The protests widened on Saturday after Mulki refused to scrap a bill increasing personal and corporate taxes, saying it was up to parliament to decide.

Witnesses said demonstrators who converged near the Cabinet office said they would disband only if the government rescinded the tax bill it sent to parliament last month, which critics say would worsen living standards.