Morocco’s new Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, nominated by King Mohammed VI to head a coalition government has already been sworn in in a brief ceremony held in Midelt.
For the first time in the history of Morocco, the monarch has chosen the chief executive from members of the party emerging victorious from parliamentary elections in this case those held on 25 November. Having won 107 seats out of the 395 available in parliament, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), a moderate Islamist party, has won for the first time and it will lead the government.
Meanwhile, intense negotiations are underway between the PJD and the Democratic parties of the Koutla (left) for the formation of a majority in parliament and a coalition government, particularly with Istiqlal, which came in second place with 60 seats, as well as the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS).
“Actually, people were a little ‘surprised at the choice of Benkirane as prime minister. Certainly he has been in politics a long time, but some are concerned by his very direct ‘no-holds barred’ language, his very firm positions,; certianly there wre expectations that somebody else would lead, perhaps a more flexible personality “, said to MISNA, Zhor Rachiq, a leading member Moroccan civil society, founder of the “Femme action”, contacted in Rabat.
Benkirane, 57, is a former physics professor, former director of small companies in the chemical industry and founder of a private school, with years of political activism as a young member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, and then in various Islamic movements. In 2007 he was MP for the constituency of Salé and in July 2008, he was elected to the leadership of the PJD.
In one of his first actions after the announcement of his party’s victory, he confirmed his respect for the monarch: “The king is the head of state and no important decision can be adopted by the Council of Ministers without his will,” Benkirane said in a speech Sunday night at the headquarters of the PJD in Rabat.
“Now people’s eyes are focused on the PJD and they expect the government to be formed shortly and to waste no time in implementing the Constitution. There are great expectations for the outcome of the negotiations that take place in secret and for the allocation of portfolios among the various groups participating in the coalition government,” concludes Zhor Rachiq.