Morocco's king appoints Islamist as new PM

King Mohammed VI makes moderate PJD's Abdelilah Benkirane head of government after resounding victory in elections.

    The PJD won a resounding victory in Morrocco's parliamentary elections, according to the government [REUTERS]

    The head of Morocco's Party of Justice and Development (PJD) has been appointed prime minister by King Mohammed VI following the moderate Islamist party's victory in weekend elections, according to an official source.

    Abdelilah Benkirane, head of the party, met the king for talks on Tuesday after receiving a royal summons to the central town of Midelt.

    "The king appointed today Justice and Development's [PJD] secretary general Benkirane as prime minister. He [Benkirane] should now seek to form a government in coalition with other parties," the source told the Reuters news agency.

    The PJD won a resounding victory in Morrocco's parliamentary elections, according to the government. Final results released on Sunday showed the PJD had won 107 seats out of the 395 up for grabs in the nationwide vote.

    "The victory of the PJD is an historic step towards democracy, this is a point of no return," Abdelilah Benkirane, PJD secretary-general, said at packed news conference on Sunday night. "I promise a strong government that will give hope to Moroccans."

    Under new rules introduced earlier this year as part of a package of constitutional reforms backed by King Mohammed VI, the prime minister will be drawn from the biggest party in parliament, giving the PJD its first chance to head a coalition government.

    The PJD, originally known as the Mouvement Populaire Démocratique et Constitutionnel (MPDC), was founded in 1967 by Dr Abdelkrim Al Khatib, a physician of current King Mohammed's father, and has maintained ties to the monarchy.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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