Jordanians demand political reform
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JEREMY HOBSON: The protests in Egypt continues and the markets seem convinced that unrest is spreading. The rating agency Moody’s has just downgraded the credit outlook for Jordan to negative.
Marketplace’s Alisa Roth is in Amman, Jordan and she joins us now. Good morning.
ALISA ROTH: Good morning.
HOBSON: So tell us about Jordan’s role in the changes that are happening in the region.
ROTH: Well, for the U.S., Jordan is one of the most important allies in the region. We’re already starting to see some signs of unrest here. There have been some protests. The king appointed a new prime minister last week in response to all this.
I met with Nimr al Assaf from the Islamic Action Front. That’s the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood — just to clarify, the Muslim Brotherhood is legal here — not like in Egypt. It’s really just the opposition party.
NIMR AL ASSAF: There should be a transformation to democracy, real democracy in Jordan soon. And also, in the economical way we should first of all see the removal of those people who really sucked the blood of the Jordanians.
What he’s talking about there is cleaning up corruption. But he and others are also demanding more economic opportunity more generally.
HOBSON: So a lot of the same issues that we saw both in Egypt and Tunisia. Alisa, are you seeing evidence there in Amman that the unrest could spread?
ROTH: Absolutely. But there are significant differences. Jordan is a much smaller country than Egypt. Where the Egyptians would really like to see Mubarak go, it seems like the Jordanians really don’t want to depose the king. The other thing is the monarchy does seem to be at least worried about all this. Among other things last week, the king increased subsidies to the people, presumably to try to resolve some of their immediate money complaints.
HOBSON: Alright Marketplace’s Alisa Roth in Amman, Jordan. And we’ll be talking to you Alisa over the coming weeks. Thanks so much.
ROTH: You’re welcome.
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