Pressure mounts on Khasawneh to appear in public, offer solutions to crisis

maan Transport Strike ma'an closed shops
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Following a tense weekend that culminated in the fatal shooting of Deputy Maan Police Chief Col. Abdel Razzaq Al-Dalabeeh by an unidentified gunman late Thursday, pressure has been mounting on Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh to appear in public and suggest a political settlement that will end the 14-day public transport and truck drivers’ strike that has spread from southern governorates to most parts of the Kingdom, according to local media outlets.اضافة اعلان

His Majesty King Abdullah, while visiting Dalabeeh’s family to pay condolences on Friday, reaffirmed that violence against the state, vandalism of public property, and violation of Jordanians’ rights will be dealt with firmly, stressing that assaults and acts of vandalism are dangerous threats to national security and will not be tolerated.

Likewise, in his press conference Friday afternoon, Minister of Interior Mazen Al-Faraya vowed to hunt down those behind Dalabeeh’s murder. However, he said that the government is unable to reduce the price of fuel derivatives, as the strikers have been demanding.

Lack of a solution to the crisis has exacerbated the situation and by Saturday, a number of truck drivers in Tafileh and Maan had announced that they were still striking and would continue to do so until the government agrees to reduce the price of fuel, especially of diesel.

In Karak, representatives of the governorate’s commercial sector announced that they will be holding a general strike today in solidarity with the striking public sector transport drivers and operators.

Meanwhile, the Karak Municipal Council issued a statement on Saturday in which it said that the country is “facing serious circumstances and challenges”, and claimed that the country has been “hijacked” by a group whose primary concern is self-interest and the failure of the public sector through a deliberate approach to destroy all the institutions of the country.

It condemned “the heinous crime” against “martyr Col. Abdul Razzaq Al-Dalabeeh” and all acts of vandalism in the previous days.

It added that “using the policy of oppression, silencing people, and displaying force, is not the solution”, which lies in a real change in government policies, public freedoms, and listening to the voice of citizens.

The council called for a large protest on Monday in the city of Karak; it declared Monday a national strike day in the governorate, and appealed to the rest of the governorates to hold a strike on that same day “in order to preserve this country”.

A number of lawmakers have signed a petition supporting a vote of no-confidence in the government, but it was not clear whether the number will be enough to present the motion to Speaker of the Lower House Ahmad Safadi.

Deputy Firas Al-Ajarmah was quoted by Jo24 as saying that the government refuses to respond to the strikers’ demands to reduce the fixed tax on oil derivatives. He said the government created the crisis and contributed to its exacerbation, asking where the prime minister is and why he does not come up with solutions to get out of the crisis.

MP Bilal Al-Momani told Jo24 that the government is unable to come up with a solution to the strike in the freight and public transport sector, stressing that not addressing the issue is the worst scenario.

“We were expecting the prime minister to come out and talk to the public about the country’s situation and propose solutions before the martyrdom of Col. Abdel-Razzaq Al-Dalabeeh,” he said.

Momani said that the Treasury’s revenues from kerosene alone are estimated at about JD141 million. He pointed out that the equation of profit and loss considered by the government is unacceptable, stressing that the issue of lack of confidence in the government is being seriously discussed by the deputies.

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