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Jordan's PM appoints new finance chief

Government remains committed to reforms

Badran: reshuffling the pack

Jordan's prime minister, Adnan Badran, appointed a new finance minister last month, following the resignation in June of Bassem Awadallah. Adel Kodah, an economist and successful former head of Jordan's privatization commission, is the new man in charge of the economy. A number of other new appointments were made to the 28-member cabinet, including that of pro-economic reform ex-diplomat Marwan Moasher to the post of deputy prime minister. Although close to both the king of Jordan, Abdullah II, and to the US, Awadallah lost public and parliamentary support as a result of the government's tough economic plans, including moves to cut fuel subsidies. The prime minister announced in late June that such subsidies would have to be abolished as part of plans to privatize the energy sector by 2008. It is thought that some $600 million-worth of subsidies will be cut over the next three years.

The reshuffle, therefore, was ostensibly an attempt to assuage public concerns about painful economic reforms. However, Tristan Cooper of Moody's sovereign risk group suggests that Awadallah's replacement was partly caused by his own difficult relationship with parliament – the reshuffle followed MPs' threats to hold a no-confidence vote unless the prime minister changed his economic team.

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