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Morocco’s premier Akhannouch announces coalition agreement

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Aziz Akhannouch said the three biggest winners of this month’s parliamentary election had agreed to form a new cabinet.

Morocco’s prime minister-designate, Aziz Akhannouch, says an agreement has been reached between three parties to form a new coalition government.

Akhannouch said on Wednesday that the three biggest winners of this month’s election – the liberal National Rally of Independents (NRI) and the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), and the conservative Istiqlal – have agreed to form a new cabinet.

King Mohammed VI on September 10 designated Akhannouch, the leader of RNI, to form a new government after his party came first in the election, taking 102 of the 395 seats in Parliament.

The three parties would together command a comfortable majority, holding 270 seats compared with the 198 needed to pass legislation.

Before he can announce the cabinet lineup, Akhannouch, a billionaire businessman, must clear it with the king, who has the ultimate say on all major issues.

Morocco is officially a constitutional monarchy, with the king holding substantial power. He picks the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliament and appoints key ministers.

The palace also sets the economic agenda for the North African country of 37 million people and has commissioned a development model that the new government is being asked to implement.

The monarchy’s dominant role means political parties espouse similar platforms focusing on education, health, employment, and social welfare.

Akhannouch said all three parties shared a common platform, focusing on economic and social reforms.

His party promised to create one million jobs to boost the economy after the coronavirus pandemic, expand health insurance to all Moroccans, increase teacher salaries and provide a guaranteed pension for the elderly.

Currently, Morocco’s economy is expected to grow 5.8 percent after contracting by 6.8 percent last year under the combined impact of the coronavirus pandemic and drought.

The Justice and Development Party (PJD), which had been the largest in the previous two elections and whose leader had served as prime minister since 2011, crashed to a heavy defeat in the election on September 8 and said it would join the opposition together with left-wing parties.



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