New Moroccan PM seals deal with five other parties to form coalition government

PM

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani on Saturday revealed that he had reached an agreement with five other parties to form a coalition government, breaking nearly six months of post-election deadlock.

Othmani was appointed as premier by the Moroccan King Mohammed VI last week to replace Abdelilah Benkirane whose efforts to form a government following the October elections were frustrated.

“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.”

Othmani said the government’s priorities would include reinforcing stability, justice reform, education, rural development and energy.

Before Othmani’s appointment, negotiations had stalled largely over the insistence by the National Rally of Independents (RNI) party on including the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) in a coalition.

Both parties are among those now 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 inclusion of four smaller parties alongside the RNI is seen as weakening the PJD’s position, which analysts said was why Benkirane had resisted such an outcome.

The PJD came to power in 2011, when King Mohammed ceded some powers to ease “Arab Spring” protests. Morocco has since presented itself as a model for economic stability and gradual reform in a region troubled by conflict and political turmoil.