Government reshuffle: Multiple purposes

تم نشره في Tue 3 March / Mar 2015. 11:08 AM

By Jumana Ghunaimat

The major features of the reshuffle conducted yesterday by Prime Minister Dr. Abdullah Ensour, is the introduction of two women to the Cabinet, bringing the number of women in the government team to five, carrying real portfolios.

Under the amendment, Maha Ali entered the government; a former Secretary General of the Ministry of Industry, who has long operational expertise, but still needs support in a political vision to keep in pace with the new position.

The second lady, is the ICT minister Majd Shwaikah, who has occupied important positions in the telecommunications sector. But maybe what she needs now is more involvement in the administrative, bureaucratic work, as this is the first time Shwaika work in the public sector, after a long career in the private sector.

Thus, the government of Dr. Ensour is the first, compared to all the previous governments, that includes this number of women, which embodies a positive gesture towards the representation of women in the executive branch. It is also an unannounced redress of forgetting to appoint any woman in his first government, with an emphasis on his belief in the role of Jordanian women.

The women ministers are in front of a big challenge. The premier gave them the opportunity, while their biggest role remain to demonstrate their ability to provide the best performance, especially as the evaluation of a number of them during the previous period was not up to bar. There were different criticisms on the performance of the two women who have been in office since the first formation of the Government of Dr. Ensour. Reports suggest that he did look for alternatives at least one of them, but the scarce options forced him to keep them.

As for the reshuffle in general, the formation came expected; not only in relation to the economic team, but also not to change the sovereign ministries. The revamp focused showed economic ministers, who performance was questionable, leaving the team, and in particular the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.


The only minister who moved from one ministry to another, without any justification for the move, Dr. Ibrahim Saif, who abandoned the Planning and International Cooperation bag to take over the Ministry of Energy, which Dr. Mohammed Hamid left.

If Dr. Saif was putting together comments on the economic plan (2015-2025), he will not have the chance to finalize or delivered them as was supposed to be, after he now became occupied with energy’s hottest files, which represent the biggest challenge.

Certainly, Dr. Saif will add value to this file as he was closely following the majority of the energy projects. However, that does not preclude the possibility of confronting major challenges in the new ministry, which time will show his capability to deal with.

Imad Fakhoury is the new Planning and International Cooperation minister; the former minister, who also recently left his position at the Royal Court as director of the Office of His Majesty the King, to be appoint as a member of the Senate, and the chief of King Abdullah II Fund for Development. He did not stay for long there, to move, yesterday, to the Ministry of Planning.

Fakhoury’s advantage is that he followed, together with Dr. Saif, the preparation of the economic plan when he was in his position at the Royal Court, which gives him the opportunity to complete the implementation of the plan after Dr. Saif’s leaving. Add to that, that Fakhoury has the capacity to deal with donor entities.

With the return of the young Minister Nayef al-Fayez to receive the tourism portfolio, the prestige of the ministry returns, which was marginalized during the last period.

Fayez has returned to where he left, and the reasons he left in the first time were not associated with his performance in the previous government, but on the contrary; Fayez had good accomplishments, and establish a good relationship with the various activities of the sector. His return may push him to continue what he started about two years ago.

The defence portfolio, unfortunately, did not find an independent minister; it remains with the prime minister, and leaves the constitutional amendment pending.

Reviewing the recent amendment, which does not carry political implications as far as technical messages, everyone is - needless to say - waiting for the government performance, old and the new ministers alike; the objective of the amendment, obviously, is to create an aligned government team, who would, subsequently, make the government’s survival more efficient.



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition