Mulqi’s Last Shot at Government!

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 15 January / Jan 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

It wasn’t an all-encompassing wide reshuffle as it was said to be; five ministers in, seven ministers out. It was however a deeper reshuffle, given the quality of the offices which have seen reassignments; sovereignty ministries and premier deputies.

In the second formation —the first reshuffle, conditions more or less prohibited Prime Minister Dr Hani Mulqi from picking his Cabinet crew to his standards, and had to deal with ministers he couldn’t even bear at a dinner table.

Over the last few months, Mulqi fidgeted recurrently for the opportunity to form his own government, especially after the government’s incoherence was exposed in all its internal discords, scoring a record amount of internal and minister conflicts.

Tirelessly trying, it became obvious to Mulqi that his own deputies among the ministers became a burden themselves, adding to his pressures, and so decided to do without the offices themselves, perhaps he could then restore the totality of his presence and capacity at the head of the government. Still, however, he substituted his three deputies with one, in the office which could be the Cabinet’s second in command; Dr Mamdouh Abaddi, to bear the weight of managing the government’s political crew.

Notwithstanding the ticking bomb, this wasn’t the only trap Mulqi had to defuse to relax somewhat in his seat at Premier; he also had to defuse the overlapping with one Minister of Foreign Affairs, after having clutched hard to the idea that the foreign affairs task could be run better with two ministers atop; Nasser Joudeh and Bisher Khasawneh.

In the end, Mulqi relieved Joudeh of his long journey with the Foreign Ministery, and kept Khasawneh in another office, armed with his unique legal expertise, placing new Minister and former King’s Counsel, Ayman Safadi, in charge of the foreign politics dynamic, in such an exceptional phase which requires such a fundamental reshuffle.

The newly appointed ministers, one at a time; most of them have an extensive resume in the public sector. But this isn’t a one man show; even the best of them cannot change a thing if they do not operate as a time.

The core problem with Mulqi government, since the very beginning, was the absence of coherence and teamwork, which endured from the first formation through the first reshuffle, thusfar.

Now that the Premier had the chance to personally weigh in this reshuffle, and choose his own team, defusing the parliament-government crisis with Salameh Hammad out, Mulqi has no more excuses, especially now that Hammad was substituted with a former Minister of Interior who has served as an MP for two terms and was also a minister of parliamentary affairs.

That said, it is safe to say that Mulqi has used up all his help options while still in the very beginning of the race. This second reshuffle is his last shot at government, to prove his worth and ability to head one of Jordan’s new 4x4 governments.

As a person, Mulqi is a challenging person; to the point of risk, his close affiliates say. He will strive the best he can to prove his ability to control and lead his ministerial team, which is the role he did not give much for in the previous phase.

Regardless, a Prime Minister in Jordan does not operate in a secluded circuit, but rather within an overlapping composite of decision circles, which would require of him quite the skill to coordinate and disentangle.

More so, if we would really like for Mulqi’s government to succeed, then these bodies should give the Cabinet the chance to restore its presence and role, for given the economic situation today, it faces an array of difficulties and many uneasy decisions to be proposed under the dome. The government is in a tough situation, not to mention it is not popular; neither with the MPs, nor with the people!

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.