Rabat’s New Direction

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has named businessman Aziz Akhannouch to lead a new government after his liberal RNI party thrashed the long-ruling Islamists in parliamentary elections. The RNI won 102 of parliament’s 395 seats, trouncing the moderate PJD Islamists, which had headed the governing coalition for a decade but took just 13 seats, according to results released by the interior ministry. Akhannouch hailed the results as “a victory for democracy”. The billionaire businessman – worth $2bn 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. After his win, Akhannouch pledged to improve conditions for citizens of Morocco, where entrenched social inequalities have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Despite the change of guard, policy shifts are unlikely since major decisions in Morocco still come from King Mohammed VI. The head of the Arab world’s longest-serving dynasty has already announced a charter for a “new model of development” with a “new generation of reforms and projects” in the coming years, with political parties expected to sign up. The plan’s major aims include reducing Morocco’s wealth gap and doubling per-capita economic output by 2035.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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