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Long-lasting Razzaz premiership

Jul 23,2019 - Last updated at Jul 23,2019

Although rumours are abound about the near end of the Omar Razzaz’s government, and that a search for a new prime minister is on, I beg to disagree. Razzaz stands to go on record as the longest surviving prime minister in Jordan, or at least one of them.

Under His Majesty King Abdullah, two prime ministers served around four-year terms continuously but each formed more than one Cabinet. They were Ali Abul Ragheb, from June 2000 to October 2003, and Abdullah Ensour who served from October 2012 until May 2016.

But we had long continuous terms for prime ministers in Jordan such as Ibrahim Hashem, Hassan Abul Huda and Tawfiq Abul Huda whose first term lasted from September 1938 till October 1944. The second term of Hassan Abul Huda lasted from June 1926 until February 1931. 

The governments of both Zeid Al Rifai and Mudar Badran dominated the 1970s and 1980s. Zaid Rifai served two terms of over seven years, and Mudar Badran served three terms of more than eight years. 

The quick change in governments was imposed by external pressures, mostly regional or both international and regional. These changes were used as a safety measure to minimise negative impacts on both the regional and the popular mood at home. They were warranted by what Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa prefaced in his saga II Gattopardo “published posthumously in 1958” with the statement “in order for things to stay the same, things must change”.

If we apply this rule, and despite all the ups and downs in our region, Razzaz will most probably stay and I am willing to bet on it. He kept himself aloof from politics and left them to the Royal Court and to a lesser degree to Parliament to absorb public sentiment. 

Razzaz managed to increase income tax rates, many fees and charges on public services.  In the future, he may be able to streamline the budget without causing much of a public outcry.

Moreover, Razzaz kept the rhetoric and action against corruption robust without rocking the socioeconomic boat. 

He is a quiet man, honest man, intelligent with subtlety and manages to keep near enough to be seen, and far enough not to be closely scrutinised.

I think he will be in office till the current Parliament serves its full term. Thus he can stay to supervise the next elections and continue as a prime minister for at least another four years.  

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