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Morocco: Prime minister agrees to form coalition government

Morocco: Prime minister agrees to form coalition government

Morocco

Moroccan Prime Minster Saad Eddine El Othmani on Saturday said he had agreed to form a coalition government with five other parties, ending nearly six months of post-election deadlock. His agreement comes just eight days in office.

Othmani, from the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), was appointed as premier last week by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. He replaced PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane, whose efforts to form a government following October elections had been frustrated.

El-Othmani, 61, announced in a press conference in Rabat on Saturday that an “agreement has been reached” with six political parties to form a coalition government.

The next steps will be deciding on government structure and ministerial appointments," Othmani told reporters, surrounded by the leaders of the five other parties.

“The next steps will be deciding on government structure and ministerial appointments,” Othmani told reporters, surrounded by the leaders of the five other parties. “We need to move beyond previous obstacles,” he said.
He told AP news agency they will proceed step by step.

“Now that we have defined the members of the government coalition, three steps remain: Defining the flowchart and structure of government, then the ministerial portfolios and then the ministerial departments that each party in the coalition will manage,”

Before his appointment, negotiations had stalled largely over the insistence by the national Rally of Independence (RNI) party on including the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) in a coalition.

The two parties are among those expected to form a new government. The other parties are the Popular Movement (MP), the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) and the Constitutional Union (UC).

The coalition includes a pro-market, conservative and socialist parties.

The Islamist PJD won parliamentary elections in October but did not win enough seats to govern alone. Under Morocco’s election law no party can win an outright majority in parliament, making coalition governments a necessity.

Last year’s election campaign was marked by tensions between the PJD and a resurgent royal establishment, though the PJD retained its position as the largest party, increasing its number of seats to 125.

El-Othmani was appointed prime minister on 17 March.

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