By Siham Ali
Morocco’s ruling party is about to name new ministers. The Justice and Development Party (PJD) held a national council on Saturday (December 17th) where the nomination process took off.
While party leaders declined to comment on the make-up of the new government, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane assured that merit would be the only criterion.
“I will never favour a member of my party over an independent politician who is more capable than he is,” Benkirane said. “This is our culture within the PJD.”
The coalition partners on Friday signed a charter, which sets out their commitment to the new constitution with regard to civil liberties and rights. They also vowed to uphold the homogeneity of the government team. A committee will be created to co-ordinate the work of ministers and a parliamentary body will be in charge of the activities of the governing coalition.
The final structure of the government will be made public after King Mohammed VI approves the nominees proposed by Benkirane.
It will include no more than 30 ministries, Benkirane said at a December 12th press briefing in Rabat. The only confirmed nomination is that of the president of the Chamber of Representatives. Outgoing Public Works Minister Abdelkarim Ghellab was picked for the post; a vote on his nomination will take place on December 19th.
The prime minister has repeatedly stated that he wants the coalition partners to pick young and competent people.
According to well-placed sources, however, the new government formation will not be entirely different from the old one.
Some ministries will be merged, such as Culture and Communication. Others will be split, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Fishing. It will be divided into three portfolios: fishing, agriculture and rural development. The interior ministry will be split into two departments: local development and the interior.
Some speculate that Popular Movement General-Secretary Mohand Laenser is a possible candidate for the post of the interior minister. The party hopes to take control of five ministries, according to Mohamed Fadili, a member of its political bureau. It particularly seeks portfolios that will give it control over rural affairs.
Istiqlal General-Secretary and outgoing Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi said that his party hoped to obtain seven or eight ministerial portfolios, including public works.
“But everything will depend on the structure of the government,” he commented.
Meanwhile, the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) hopes to secure ministries that will put them in contact with citizens, General-Secretary Nabil Ben Abdellah said. The PPS now only seeks posts of a political nature.