Jordan's King Abdullah on Saturday accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Razzaz but asked him to stay on as a caretaker premier until he designates a successor to oversee parliamentary elections on November 10.
Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz speaks to the media during a news conference in Amman, Jordan, April 9, 2019. /Reuters
The Jordanian leader sent a letter to Razzaz in which he accepted the prime minister's resignation and voiced appreciation to the government, especially for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic through integrated efforts among state institutions, according to a statement by the Royal Hashemite Court.
Despite the cabinet's efforts in setting plans and programs and implementing priorities, it is important to learn from the mistakes that marked aspects of the response to COVID-19, with methods to address it being refined day by day, the king said in the letter.
The monarch dissolved parliament last Sunday at the end of its four-year term in a move that under constitutional rules meant the government had to resign within a week.
A new government will pave the way for the November vote, as the country grapples with the rapid spread of COVID-19 infections over the last month for which the last government had been widely criticized.
King Abdullah appointed Razzaz in the summer of 2018 to defuse the biggest protests in years over tax increases sought by the International Monetary Fund to reduce Jordan's large public debt.
In his letter of resignation, Razzaz said his government has succeeded at times and made mistakes as well, but tried to course-correct in service of Jordan and its citizens.
Razzaz said COVID-19 had an impact on his cabinet's 2020 priorities, with safeguarding public health and wellbeing becoming the main goal.
Jordanian army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint after the start of a nationwide curfew, in Amman, Jordan, March 21, 2020. /Reuters
Jordan reported 1,099 new cases on Saturday, bringing the cumulative total to 14,749 infections and 88 deaths.
The country's economy is expected to shrink by six percent this year as it tackles its worst economic crisis in many years, with unemployment and poverty aggravated by the pandemic.
The elections will however not usher political reforms because of a law that keeps intact a system that limits the representation of those of Palestinian origin in favor of native Jordanians who are the backbone of the country's political establishment.