Jordan’s controversial royal court chief quits

AMMAN (AFP)  King Abdullah II on Monday accepted the resignation of his royal court chief, who has come under sharp public criticism over his alleged interference in controversial political and economic issues.

“A royal decree was issued today accepting the resignation of Bassem Awadallah from his post as chief of the royal court effective Wednesday, October 1,” a palace statement said.

The king is expected to name Awadallah’s successor next week, officials told AFP on Monday.

Awadallah, who was appointed in November, has been accused by some MPs and other politicians as well as journalists of meddling in the country’s privatisation plans.

Several multi-billion-dollar deals with foreigners, including a contract for Jordan’s only port on the Red Sea in Aqaba, have led lawmakers to demand explanations from the government over what many have described as “hidden” privatisation projects.

Awadallah, a former finance and planning minister, was also accused of backing secret plans to merge with a rump West Bank if the Palestinians do not win their promised independence.

He has denied all the accusations.

Officials have told AFP that Jordan, where a significant proportion of its nearly six million inhabitants are of Palestinian origin, “strongly opposes all American or Israeli attempts to merge it with a part of the West Bank.”

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Filed under Jordan, Middle East Politics

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