Jordan’s King Abdullah tries to calm an angry public


Hands up for handouts

TO LAND a job in Jordan’s public sector is to land a job for life—unless you are the prime minister. Starting on May 30th thousands of Jordanians came out to protest against subsidy cuts and new taxes planned by the government of Hani Mulki. On June 1st King Abdullah tried to appease them by cancelling increases to fuel and electricity prices. When that failed he sacked Mr Mulki, the sixth prime minister to lose his job since 2011. But on June 4th protesters were back in the streets.

Few Jordanians will miss Mr Mulki, a maladroit politician. But he was arguably Jordan’s most reform-minded prime minister. Before he took office in 2016 the kingdom was careering towards insolvency, with a debt-to-GDP ratio that had soared from 62% in 2011 to 93% four years later. Mr Mulki halted the slide by raising revenue and reducing energy subsidies. The debt ratio has stabilised at 95%. The government also accepted a $723m loan from the IMF with…

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