Jordanians call for ouster of PM Bakhit

By ABDUL JALIL MUSTAFA | ARAB NEWS
Jul 8, 2011

AMMAN: Jordanians demonstrated on Friday for the fifth week in a row in several cities calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government, the dissolution of the lower house of parliament and taking serious moves to punish corrupt officials, witnesses said.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in the city of Tafileh, 180 km south of Amman, to press their demand for Bakhit’s ouster.

They issued a statement rejecting last week’s reshuffle of Bakhit’s cabinet as a fresh evidence of the government’s “weak will” to carry out the needed political reforms and a move designed to “kill the public mobility.”

“The decision-makers have to stop their procrastination, piracy and the cover-up they provide for corrupts,” the statement said.

In the reshuffle, Bakhit appointed nine new ministers, including replacements for the ministers of the Interior, Justice and Health who resigned in connection with the fleeing of the convicted tycoon Khalid Shahin.

Shahin, who was serving a three-year jail term when he fled to London on Feb. 25, is now in Frankfurt under the pretext of seeking medical treatment that he says he could not find locally.

Jordanian authorities said they were in contact with the German government seeking to ensure Shahin’s extradition to Jordan.

Scores of activists demonstrated for the first time in the city of Mafraq, 50 km east of Amman, urging King Abdallah to sack the cabinet and dissolve the House of Representatives. They also called for Bakhit’s trial over his role in the so-called 2007 casino deal, when his government then allowed a London-based investor to build a casino on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

Samir Rifai, who succeeded Bakhit as premier, sought to annul the agreement in 2008, contending that it harmed Jordan’s interests and involved taboos because Islamic teachings prohibit gambling.

The lower house voted recently to clear Bakhit of wrongdoings, but implicated former Tourism Minister Osama Dabbas.

Source: Arab News.
Link: http://arabnews.com/middleeast/article468761.ece.

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