Morocco: 3 parties agree to form new coalition government

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco’s prime minister-designate announced Wednesday that a three-party coalition will form the country’s next government.

King Mohammed VI appointed billionaire Aziz Akhanouch as prime minister earlier this month after his party placed first in a legislative election, netting 102 out of the 395 seats in the lower house of parliament.

The coalition includes Akhanouch’s liberal National Rally of Independents Party, or RNI, the Authenticity and Modernity party (PAM) and the conservative Istiqlal (IP).

Formed in 2008 by Fouad Ali El Hima, a personal friend of the king and one of his close advisers, PAM has never before been part of a Moroccan government.

The Istiqlal Party is Morocco’s oldest party and has participated in several governments since the kingdom gained independence from France in 1956.

The three parties together won 270 seats in the House of Representatives, giving the coalition government a comfortable majority to pass laws.

“We will work together to form an effective and coherent majority before presenting the government lineup to King Mohammed VI,” Akhanouch said during a press conference. “We share many historical backgrounds and we intersect in a number of priorities.”

A former agriculture minister, Akhanouch is one of Morocco’s richest men.

He replaces Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani, whose Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) suffered a stinging a defeat in the Sept. 8 election. The party, which has been in power since 2011, secured only 13 parliament seats, down from 125 in the 2016 election.

The PJD’s leadership resigned en masse after this month’s elections and said the party would join the opposition ranks.

In a statement, the moderate Islamist party alleged “many violations and imbalances witnessed” during the elections,” adding that “the results do not reflect the reality of the political map and the free will of the voters.”

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