Morocco’s PM-appointed Akhannouch announces

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Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said on Wednesday that the three biggest winners in this month’s parliamentary elections – the Liberal National Rally of Independents (RNI), the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and the Istiqlal Party – had agreed to form a new cabinet.

“The three parties will work to propose the names of competent and responsible ministers,” Akhannouch, who is also RNI’s secretary general, told a joint news conference with his counterparts Abdelatif Ouahbi of the PAM and Nizar Baraka of the Istiqlal party.

On September 10, King Mohammed VI appointed billionaire Akhannouch to form a new government after his party won the first election, taking 102 of the 395 seats in parliament. Together, the three parties would have a comfortable majority of 270 seats compared to the 198 needed to pass legislation. Before he can announce the cabinet line-up, Akhannouch must clear it with the king, who has the final say on all major issues. The Moderate Party for Justice and Development (PJD), which had been the largest in the two previous elections and whose leader had been prime minister since 2011, crashed to a major defeat and won only 13 seats. The PJD said it would join the opposition along with left-wing parties.

Akhannouch, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to be over $ 2 billion, said all three parties shared a common platform to focus on economic and social reforms. In his press release, Akhannouch promised that the coalition government will “work to implement the government’s program (it) will be the roadmap for its work.”

RNI, considered close to the palace, and PAM, founded by an influential royal adviser, had clashed during the election campaign, with PAM accusing Akhannouch’s party of buying votes. But PAM chief Ouahbi said on Monday after meeting with Akhannouch that he had “received positive signs” and that “dialogue will continue.”

In recent days, Akhannouch met with leaders of the political parties represented in parliament as part of his consultation to form a government. The constitution of the kingdom does not prescribe a specific period for consultation to form a government. But any coalition formation requires the approval of those who occupy half plus one of the seats in parliament.

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