EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Protests that forced Jordan’s prime minister to resign and laid bare the country’s systemic economic and political crisis shed new light on the root causes of popular protests in the Middle East that swept the region in 2011 and have since continuously erupted across a swath of land stretching from Morocco to Egypt.
Large numbers of middle-class Jordanian demonstrators who saw their livelihoods threatened by price and tax hikes recently took to the streets. The ensuing replacement of Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki by his education minister, Omar al-Razzaz, a reformer and former World Banker, did little to quell the unrest.
Protesters are demanding a full repeal of the proposed tax hikes, which raise employees’ income tax by 5% and corporate levies by 20-40% percent in line with the terms of a three-year $723 million dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Jordan secured in 2016.
Buried in the protesters’ slogans and demands is a call for a greater say in the country’s affairs at a time when King Abdullah, driven by economic need and tectonic geopolitical shifts, is unilaterally rewriting the country’s social contract.