King Abdullah ll of Jordan gave orders to the Jordanian government to freeze its decision to raise the prices of some fuel products, according to the Jordanian news agency, Petra.
The decision came amid public discontent with the government over the possibility of raising the price of certain fuel products. King Abdullah told Prime Minister Fayez Al-Tarawneh to freeze the decision to raise the price of 90 octane gasoline and diesel.
The proposed ten percent rise in fuel prices made by Al-Tarawneh’s government last Friday was met with heavy opposition. In Jordan’s House of Representatives, 89 of 120 members signed a motion of no-confidence as a result of the decision in an extraordinary session in parliament, Petra news agency reported. The signatories threatened to boycott further parliamentary sessions if the decision was not reversed.
The Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) was at the forefront of opposition to the decision. In a statement the MB released on Sunday, the group said hundreds took part in a protest “objecting to the government’s policy of starving the people.” The group said the fuel price hike would have been the second in two months.
The government claims to be on a reform path, but dissent is on the rise, particularly with regard to elections law and austerity measures. Last Friday, thousands protested against the government, according to the MB’s website. Members of various political groups including Islamic and leftist groups took part in the protest in which they objected to the government’s policies and to the elections law which has been a huge point of contention between the government and opposition groups who feel the law will leave them unfairly disadvantaged in upcoming elections expected to be held towards the end of the year.
There was another protest last week as well, but this one was online. Online activists, news websites, and blogs held an “electronic blackout,” using their websites as a platform to object to amendments to press and publications laws that limit online freedoms. Hundreds of Jordanian websites displayed a black screen and a message explaining why the ramifications of the proposed new law.
Jordan’s resources are already strained and the continuous surge of Syrian refugees has made matters even more complicated. The recent austerity measures are an attempt to control the country’s budget deficit.