Ministers to quit Moroccan coalition

Six ministers from minority conservative Istiqlal Party to resign over dispute over subsidy reforms, a spokesman says.

    Istiqlal Party leader Hamid Chabat has been at odds with PM Abdelilah Benkirane [AFP]
    Istiqlal Party leader Hamid Chabat has been at odds with PM Abdelilah Benkirane [AFP]

    The executive committee of Morocco's Istiqlal Party (IP) announced that it has decided to withdraw from the Justice and Development Party (JDP)-led government and join the opposition.

    Adil Ben Hamza, the spokesperson of the IP announced in a video posted on the party’s official Facebook page on Tuesday that Hamid Chabat, the secretary-general of the IP, had made a phone call to King Mohammed VI to inform him of his party’s final decision after what he described as "desperate" attempts to avoid the outcome.

    "Our ministers will submit their resignations to the prime minister on Tuesday, we are no longer members of this coalition," Benhamza said.

    Istiqlal, which controls the finance ministry and five other cabinet portfolios, is unhappy about government plans to start deregulating the prices of some basic goods after the fasting month of Ramadan.

    The government needs to rein in costly subsidies as it struggles with the economic fallout from upheavals across the Arab world and from the eurozone debt crisis, which has hit its main source of trade and investment.

    Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, backed by the IMF to the tune of $6.2bn under a precautionary credit line agreed last year, insists the reforms will go ahead. 

    Istiqlal is in coalition with the JDP that won 2011 legislative elections held after the adoption of the new constitution proposed by the king to stifle the Arab Spring protests.

    It remained unclear whether the king, who wields ultimate power, would accept their resignation.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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