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Jordan’s Prime Minister Quits, as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity

Jordan’s Prime Minister Quits, as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity

The proposed tax and price increases are the latest in series of austerity measures Jordan has imposed since 2016, when it received a $723 million, three-year line of credit from the I.M.F. The fund says the sacrifices will lower the government’s debt of $35 billion, advance economic overhauls and promote growth.

While much of the popular anger is about the economy, some experts say it is also about a steady decline of freedoms since the Arab Spring, a lack of democratic change and a perception that corruption is rampant. Protesters blame politicians for squandering public funds.

“The protesters also want a changing social contract,” said Sean L. Yom, a political-science professor at Temple University who studies Middle Eastern governments. “The Jordanian state is asking citizens to pay more and live more frugally, but in return offers little political concessions or more democracy.”

Polls show a significant decline in public confidence in government, particularly in the past year, Dr. Braizat of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions said.

Jordan, which does not produce oil or natural gas, relies heavily on aid from the United States and the oil-rich Arab nations states of the Persian Gulf. Maintaining stability in Jordan has been a top American priority in the region for years, but last year, the Gulf states cut their assistance to Jordan, worsening conditions there.

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