No government in sight: Morocco PM ends coalition talks

No government in sight: Morocco PM ends coalition talks
2 min read
10 January, 2017
Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on Sunday night announced an end to talks to form a new government with two main coalition partners, deepening his country’s political deadlock.
Benkirane's announcement brings coalition talks back to square one [AFP]
Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on Sunday night announced an end to talks to form a new government with two main coalition partners three months after the country's elections, deepening his country’s political deadlock.

The leader of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), was named by King Mohammed VI as prime minister for a second term after his party won the most seats in last October's election.

However, the country’s election law does not permit any party to win an outright majority in the 395-seat parliament, making coalition governments a necessity.

Benkirane had been in talks with Aziz Akhannouch, leader of the center-right National Rally of Independence party (RNI), a figure seen to be close to the king.

Akhannouch’s critics accuse him of maneuvering on behalf of the royal palace.

"Talks have ended with him and also with Mohaend Laenser, the leader of the Popular Movement," Benkirane said in a statement Sunday night.

The RNI has been trying to impose a bloc of four minor parties inside the ruling coalition, which would weaken the Islamists, a move seen as being directed by the royal palace.

The party has also ruled out any alliance with the conservative Istiqlal party, which has shown willingness to work with Benkirane.

The palace says the king maintains the equal distance from all parties and dismisses claims of royal interference.

Benkirane’s announcement brings coalition talks back to square one, delaying the appointment of a parliament chief in addition to postponing the debate on Morocco's economic reform programme to overhaul subsidies and public spending.