More Protests Planned as Jordan Meets Depressingly Familiar ‘New’ PM

New 'Reform' PM Is Same Man Who Failed to Push Reforms in Last Term

Jordan’s religious opposition has promised another round of protests against the nation’s government today following the appointment of Senate Foreign Affairs Chairman Maruf Bakhit as the new Prime Minister of Jordan.

Jordanians have been protesting for the past week, demanding that the previous prime minister step down and allow free elections. Though King Abdullah indeed sacked Prime Minister Rifai and the rest of the cabinet yesterday, he moved today to appoint a new one, without any elections.

The ouster of Rifai was welcomed by many, but the appointment of Bakhit hardly suggests radical change, as he held the prime ministership from late 2005 to late 2007, promising all the while reforms that he was never able to deliver on.

Bakhit was also largely blamed by the religious opposition for the disputed 2007 election, as he angrily refused calls for independent monitors ahead of the vote, and glossed over reports of rampant bribery after it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.