PREMIERSHIP: Moroccan king appoints ‘moderate’ Islamist party chief as PM

King Mohammed VI of Morocco appoints moderate Islamist leader Abdelilah Benkirane prime minister, following his party’s election victory.



King Appoints First Democratically Elected Prime Minister



Benkirane named as Morocco’s new PM (Euronews):

Morocco’s King Mohamed has named Abdelilah Benkirane as the country’s new prime minister.

Morocco poised for coalition government (Euronews):

As counting draws to a close in Morocco’s parliamentary election, the moderate Islamist PJD party looks set to be the biggest in parliament, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui has announced.



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Islamist named as new Morocco PM (bbc)

The leader of a moderate Islamist party has been appointed by King Mohammed VI as Morocco’s new prime minister.

Abdelilah Benkirane will now hold talks on forming a coalition government.

His Justice and Development Party (PJD) has not been in government before, but emerged as the biggest party in Friday’s parliamentary elections.

Under a new constitution approved by referendum in July, the king has to choose a prime minister from the party that won the most seats.

The PJD took 107 seats out of the 395 in Parliament, almost twice as many as the second-place nationalist Istiqlal party, with 60 seats.

The election was held more than a year early, after pro-democracy demonstrations swept the country earlier this year as part of the region wide Arab Spring.

New PM pledges ‘Loyalty’ to Monarchy

King Mohammed received Mr Benkirane, who is the PJD’s secretary general, in the mountain town of Midelt and named him head of government with the task of forming a new government.

The new constitution also gives the prime minister more powers to govern, but the king still has the final say on issues of defence, security and religion.

The PJD’s victory follows that of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party in an election there last month.

Mr Benkirane, who was elected head of his party in 2008, leads its more pro-monarchy faction.

He has repeatedly stated his support for a strong king, even though some of his colleagues would prefer a less powerful ruler.

“The head of the state is king and no-one can govern without him,” he told supporters on Sunday.

The PJD has said it will promote Islamic finance. However, it has avoided focusing on issues such as alcohol and headscarves for women.

Recommended Reading:

Why has Morocco’s king survived the Arab Spring? By Aidan Lewis, Rabat, Morocco (BBC)

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