Morocco's Mohammed VI unveils new government: Statement

AFP , Thursday 7 Oct 2021

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Thursday named a new government, led by billionaire tycoon Aziz Akhannouch whose National Rally of Independents (RNI) trounced incumbent Islamists in elections last month.

King Mohammed VI
Morocco s King Mohammed VI . AFP

The 24-member cabinet including seven women is largely made up of technocrats, with foreign affairs minister Nasser Bourita keeping his role.

The monarch "led a ceremony... at the royal palace in Fez, appointing the members of the new government," the palace said in a statement.

The list of ministers included members of the liberal RNI and the election runner-up the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), both considered close to the palace, and the conservative Istiqlal party.

Bourita and interior minister Abdelouafi Laftit are independents.

The RNI won 102 of parliament's 395 seats in the September 8 polls, sweeping away the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) which had headed the governing coalition for a decade but took just 13 seats.

Businessman Akhannouch -- worth $2 billion according to Forbes -- has led the RNI since 2016.

His party is considered close to the palace and has been part of all coalition governments for the past 23 years, except during a brief period between 2012 and 2013.

Following his win, Akhannouch pledged to improve conditions for citizens of Morocco, where entrenched social inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The new government will also take office amid increased tensions with regional rival Algeria, which cut diplomatic ties with Rabat in August over what it said were "hostile actions".

Morocco called the move "completely unjustified" and based on "false, even absurd pretexts".

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