Discontent in the Middle East

Jordan’s king fires cabinet, calls for political reform

Dale Gavlak Feb 1, 2011
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Discontent in the Middle East

Jordan’s king fires cabinet, calls for political reform

Dale Gavlak Feb 1, 2011
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TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let’s get to our top story. The unrest in Egypt is spreading fast. News this morning that the Palestinian government has announced plans for local council elections as soon as possible. And in Jordan King Abdullah fired his government and called for political reform.

Let’s go live to the Jordanian capital of Amman now where the BBC’s Dale Gavlak is standing by for us. Dale Gavlak, give us an update on what’s happened there today.

DALE GAVLAK: Yes, we’ll King Abdullah of Jordan dismissed his government following three weeks of street protests. He asked the ex-army general Marouf al-Bakhit to form a new cabinet. Jordanians from all political stripes took to the streets in nation-wide demonstrations over rising prices, inflation, and unemployment. Very similar to Tunisia and Egypt. Now Jordan’s economy, like those two countries, is way down by a record deficit of $2 billion. And unemployment tops 12 percent.

HOBSON: And Dale Gavlak, what kind of an impact can the events that are going on there in Jordan have on the global economy?

GAVLAK: Perhaps it may calm the global economy a bit. The king has taken a decisive move to dismiss his Prime Minister which the protesters had demanded. And he has appointed someone new. So, this satisfies the protesters demands in part. But they have also been asking for the popular election of a Prime Minister and cabinet officials. So it doesn’t satisfy that.

HOBSON: Now markets are the world have been concerned about the unrest in Egypt spreading to other countries in the region. Just as we hear that it is today, disrupting oil trade perhaps, and shipping. Is that what has happened? Is this crisis spreading?

GAVLAK: Well, I mean, in some ways yes I mean Egypt is an oil producer, and of course, so its own oil trade has been disrupted. Jordan is not an oil producer. The Gulf where the majority of the Middle East’s oil is produced is continuing to produce. But let’s face it — world markets do not like political instability. And so we’re witnessing in Egypt, you know we can just expect to see oil prices continue to fluctuate.

HOBSON: The BBC’s Dale Gavlak in Amman.

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