Omar Razzaz (Arabic: عمر الرزاز; born 1 January 1961) is the current Prime Minister of Jordan. He was designated to form a new government on 5 June 2018 after his predecessor resigned as a result of widespread protests against IMF-backed austerity measures in the country.
|42nd Prime Minister of Jordan|
|Assumed office |
14 June 2018
|Preceded by||Hani Mulki|
|Minister of Education|
14 January 2017 – 14 June 2018
|Prime Minister||Hani Mulki|
|Preceded by||Mohammad Thneibat|
|Succeeded by||Azmi Mahafzeh|
|Born||1 January 1961|
|Relatives||Munif Razzaz (father)|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Born in Al-Salt to Syrian immigrant parents, Razzaz began his schooling in Amman, later continuing his studies abroad. He was director of several national and international institutions. He was Minister of Education in Hani Al-Mulki's government since 4 January 2017, before his designation as Prime Minister.
Razzaz was enrolled at AUB’s faculty of engineering from 1979 to 1981 and holds a master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Razzaz holds a PhD from Harvard University in Planning, with a minor in Economics. He completed his post-doctorate at Harvard Law School.
Razzaz was director of the World Bank in Lebanon between 2002 and 2006. He was director of Jordan's Social Security Corporation between 2006 and 2010. He also served as director of the Jordan Strategy Forum and Jordan's Ahli Bank.
Minister of EducationEdit
Razzaz appointed a new cabinet that included 16 members from the previous 28-minister government, this was criticized from the public as a complete overhaul of the cabinet was anticipated. However, he included seven women as ministers, the largest female representation in the country's governments history. Razzaz faces a tough task of balancing between international lenders and an angry public. Jordan's debt-to-GDP ratio is 96%, and an unemployment figure of 18.4%, the highest in 25 years. Jordan's economic woes were brought by the turmoil spreading from the Arab Spring when it erupted in 2010. Trade union figures, who lead the public protests, threatened to return to the streets if Razzaz does not deliver. Razzaz has promised a more inclusive approach, but has also tried to lower expectations during meetings with legislators and trade union representatives. "There is no magic stick. There is no painkiller. This is a long path, a difficult path. But God willing, the target is clear and the leadership is united with the people in achieving it." In his first cabinet meeting, Razzaz withdrew the income tax bill from Parliament, and promised to have deep discussions about it. The bill was the spark to the protests that led to his predecessor's ouster. On 9 July 2018, Razzaz delivered his first policy statement to the House of Representatives, Jordan's lower house of Parliament. On 19 July, Razzaz gained the confidence of the 130-member House with 79-49 votes. A government in Jordan gains confidence by a majority vote (66 votes) in the lower house.
Omar's father Munif Razzaz was a member of the Jordanian Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. In the 1950s, the Jordanian Ba'athists were loud critics of King Hussein. Because of his anti-monarchy activities, Munif was imprisoned multiple times in the 1950s. Later, he relocated to Iraq in 1977 and became a leading member of the Iraqi Ba'ath. Munif was among dozens of dissidents accused of plotting against then new Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the 1979 Ba'ath Party Purge. King Hussein had advocated for Munif's release so he can return safely to Jordan, but President Saddam Hussein adamantly refused. Munif died in 1984 during his house arrest in Baghdad, his family claims he was assassinated by the Iraqi Ba'ath after his hypertension medicine was replaced with poison.
- "Jordan PM Hani al-Mulki resigns amid mass protests over tax bill". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2019-04-02.
- "Mo'nes Razzaz". Razzaz.com. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- "Another AUB figure wins the confidence to lead". American University of Beirut. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
- "DUSP alum appointed prime minister of Jordan | MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning". dusp.mit.edu. Retrieved 2018-10-29.
- "Omar Razzaz | MIT - Solve". SOLVE MIT. Retrieved 2018-06-04.
- "Prime Minister Omar Razzaz's CV". Ro'ya. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- "Jordan's new Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz". Reuters. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- "New Jordanian cabinet has fresh faces but same old problems". The National. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- "Jordan PM Omar Razzaz caught between angry public, international lenders". The Indian Express. Associated Press. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- "Cabinet withdraws tax bill, says reforms vital". The Jordan Times. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
- [dead link]
- "Razzaz government wins vote of confidence after marathon debate". 20 July 2018.
- B.O.C., Business Optimization Consultants. "Jordan - Government - The Executive Branch". www.kinghussein.gov.jo.
- Moubayed 2006, p. 316.
- "99 years since Munif Razzaz's birth: politician, intellectual, prisoner and father". 7iber (in Arabic). 19 December 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2019.