Morocco's capital elects female mayor for the first time

Following the footsteps of Casablanca


Moroccan economist and journalist Asmaa Ghlalou will be the first woman mayor of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, as of today.

Ghlalou, who belongs to the National Rally of Independents (RNI) that won the 8 September elections, was elected mayor by 58 councillors (out of 79) in a voting session held at Rabat's city hall on Friday.

Ghlalou's two rivals, former RNI MP, Hassan Lachgar of the socialist Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), and Badia Benani of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), obtained only seven and eight votes respectively.

"It is a historic day to vote a woman mayor of Rabat, the City of Lights. I will be mayor for all, majority and opposition; all united in the service of the city and its inhabitants," the new mayor stressed in a brief speech after her victory.

Ghlalou joins two other women at the head of two of the country's major cities: Casablanca - the country's economic capital - which will be governed for the first time by Mayor Nabila Rmili of the RNI, and Marrakech - the country's main tourist destination - which has Fatima Zahra Mansouri, of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM, second in the last elections), as mayor.

Rabat, with a population of more than 1.7 million, has been immersed in recent years in major projects - promoted by King Mohammed VI - aimed at modernising the city's infrastructure, preserving its cultural heritage (with the opening of several museums and the construction of the Grand Theatre of Rabat), and increasing the number of green spaces.