Mohammed VI Appoints New Government

  January 6, 2012 at 1:04 am by

After days of suspense, Morocco has a new government. Negotiations came to an end on Tuesday between party leaders, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and the Palace, as  King Mohammed VI named a new government dominated by moderate Islamists, who won polls the monarch called early to abort Arab Spring-inspired protests.

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Prime Minister Benkirane, whose moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) took the most seats in the elections, will lead a coalition. “Benkirane’s movement allied with three other parties close to the Palace and the King still retains veto powers over most decisions,” as was reported by the Agence France-Presse. Four other posts were directly appointed by the Palace, including religious affairs. Both the Foreign Ministry and the Interior Ministry have also been assigned “minister delegates,” with ties to the Palace that may challenge the power of the ministers. The Foreign Minister, Saadeddin al-Qthmani, is an example of this – he will have a minister-delegate in Youssef Amrani. These delegates have associations with the posts in the previous government.

Abdullah Baha, an advisor to the new Prime Minister, dismissed concerns about these new posts. “It is us who wanted him there,” he told the Associated Press. Baha did admit however that part of the delay in forming the government was “because the Palace objected to the appointment of Mustapha Ramid as Justice Minister,” known for his anti-U.S. rhetoric and defense of terror suspects in court cases.

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