Mass protests against IMF austerity force Jordan's Prime Minister to resign

Jordan is broke, thanks to falling tax revenues due to tax avoidance and low taxes on the super-rich, and the country is seeking to bridge the gap in its finances by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, which backed a bill that imposed crushing cuts on public services to ensure that money could be found to pay back Jordan's creditors.

The bill was extremely unpopular among Jordanians, who've faced rising prices and wage stagnation, but Jordan's Prime Minister Hani Mulki refused to withdraw it, prompting mass street demonstrations that culminated in the King of Jordan ordering Mulki to resign.

But it's not clear whether the king objected to austerity, or just the hamfisted way that Mulki was imposing it; the king's handpicked successor to Mulki is reportedly a former World Bank economist named Omar al-Razzaz.

Protesters have chanted anti-government slogans and clashed with police, who have fired tear gas and blocked roads.

The demonstrators say a new tax bill backed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hurt the poor and middle class.

Mr Mulki had refused to scrap the bill, saying it was up to parliament to decide whether to pass it or not.

His government said it needed the money to fund public services and said the new tax bill would mean higher earners pay more.

Jordan PM Hani Mulki quits after austerity protests [BBC]