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Morocco has a new government a decade after Islamist leadership

King Mohammed VI has officially appointed the new government, led by the liberal Aziz Ajanauch
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Morocco is leaving behind its Islamist era under the now former president, Saadeddine Othmani, to give way to a new liberal political era under the presidency of Moroccan billionaire Aziz Akhannouch. Following the Islamists' debacle in September's elections, the PJD, islamic party, has gone into opposition after a decade in power.

As procedure dictates, King Mohammed VI has officially appointed Aziz Akhannouch as the leader of the new government. In this respect, the new government is made up of three parties: the National Rally of Independents (RNI), the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and the Istiqlal (PI).

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The three formations, the centrist RNI followed by the more liberal PAM and the more traditional and conservative PI, have a total of 269 MPs out of the 395 that make up the Congress of Deputies, making it the coalition with the fewest political parties since 1999, the year in which the Moroccan monarch inherited the throne. 

One of the most important aspects of this new appointment is the presence of women in the government, as the number of female ministers has gone from four to seven. Two of the new ministers are the recently appointed mayors of Casablanca and Marrakech, the doctor Nabila Rmili, who will hold the health portfolio, and Fatima Zahra Monsouri, who will be the minister of tourism.

Also, for the first time, the economy and finance portfolio will be headed by a woman, Nadia Fetá Allawi, who was previously in charge of the tourism portfolio.

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These new appointments represent a significant advance compared to the four women ministers of the last government. Even so, these figures remain far short of achieving a government with official parity. In the case of Rmili and Mansouri, the question now arises as to whether the respective women mayors will leave their posts to devote themselves exclusively to the ministerial portfolio or whether they will decide to hold both responsibilities, as Moroccan law allows them to hold two different political posts. 

In the ministerial distribution, the RNI will have seven, as will the WFP, while the IP will have four portfolios. Of the outgoing ministers, few of those in charge of governmental portfolios will return to any ministry. The remaining ministries, which are considered sovereign and whose heads are chosen by Mohammed VI himself, remain unchanged.

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On the other hand, in the foreign ministry, Naser Burita repeats at the head of the same portfolio, while Abdeluafi Laftit will continue in the interior portfolio, Abdeltif Ludyi in defence and Ahmed Taufiq in Islamic affairs.

Bourita will thus continue to be in charge of Moroccan diplomacy at a time when Moroccan diplomacy has been frenetic, both in terms of the crisis with Spain and Morocco's rapprochement with Israel.

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The PJD is currently going through a serious internal crisis that has revealed the weakening of the group. With only 13 deputies, compared to the 125 they had in parliament, the new executive is opening a new stage in the conquest of civil rights. In this respect, they hope that legal reforms that have been repeatedly prevented by the PJD can be implemented.