Sunday, November 27, 2005

New government (yawn)

General Marouf Bakhit has formed his new government. It looks like he played it safe and avoided anybody who might be controversial. Some reports had suggested that Saleh Gallab would be appointed as minister of information, a ministry which was abolished a couple of governments ago. The new government does not have a ministry of information portfolio, which was abolished because of complaints that it was a barrier to free speech.

Fears that Bakhit would form a military government seem to have been misplaced. The minister of interior is Eid Fayiz, who is a business man and served previously as minister of labour. The minister of transport (Soud Nuseirat) is an ex-officer, but he is a hold-over from Adnan Badran's cabinet.

The economic portfolios are similar to the previous government, with the notable exception of Dr. Ziad Fariz. Dr. Fariz is a well respected economist who is currently the chairman of the Arab Banking Corporation (Jordan), and was previously the governor of the Central Bank of Jordan. He served as minister of planning in the early 90's. Sharif Zoubi and Suhair Ali kept their portfolios, but Taisir Smadi lost his job as the "minister for development of the public sector". He threw an embarrassing temper tantrum about three weeks ago, complaining that he was not being given enough money. Presumably, the economic team will now all sing in key.

There are actually few new faces in the government. Dhafer el Alem was the head of the Jordan Valley Authority and was promoted to Minister of Water and Irrigation, and Akef Zoubi was the undersecretary for the Ministry of Agriculture, and was promoted to Minister of Agriculture. Munir Nassar is an investor in various tourism projects, and was appointed to the Ministry of Tourism. Adel Tuwaisi is a professor of English literature and was previously the head of the Hussein and Al Al Beit Universities. He was appointed minister of culture. Thus, these appointments make sense, and will not be controversial. The only funny appointment was the minister of Social Affairs (Suleiman Tarawneh), who is a civil engineer. Presumably, they are old friends from when Bakhit was at Mu'tah.

Most of the cabinet (15 out of 24) are ex-ministers, either held over from the previous cabinet or from earlier versions. This is a sensible investment, since they are being paid anyway.

In all, Bakhit steered away from controversy. His team seems to be mature and balanced. I would not expect anything particularly imaginative, though. This is a good first step in restoring some gravitas to the government, although, in the final analysis, it will be achievement that will be expected. Achievements will not be made by avoiding controversy.

***********
Correction: It looks like I refered to the wrong Suleiman Tarawneh. The minister is a military man , who taught at Mu'tah. So I was partially right (Sorry, Naseem).

4 Comments:

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous issam said...

I love your political analysis, you quite good at it. I did not know that a civil engneer can lead the social affair ministry! I guess as you said that they must be friends.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger jameed said...

if an engineer can lead the ministry of health, he can lead the social affair ministry. after all the social affairs ministry only needs someone who is generous, loving, caring and has good nature.

ok i am being sarcastic. by no means i am diminishing either minister's credentials.

 
At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Nas said...

I am a Tarawneh so I might sound a bit bias here but hopefully everyone realises that educational credintials usually play little if at all any role in a political designation, anywhere in the world. Even/Especially in the U.S.

 
At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Nas said...

:-D

 

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