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Maghreb Arabe Presse

 2007 Elections



King appoints conservative Abbas el Fassi Prime Minister

Rabat, Sep. 19 - King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Wednesday appointed Abbas El Fassi, leader of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party, Prime Minister.

   Mr. El Fassi, 67, whose conservative party won the September 7 legislative elections with 52 seats, was appointed in replacement of Mr. Driss Jettou, a technocrat who led the outgoing government since the 2002 polls.

   A press release from the King's Office said that the monarch has entrusted the new Prime Minister with holding "wide-scale consultations" with the different political parties to come up with proposals on the formation of the new government. The new team, he insisted, should tackle the country's "major priorities and issues," and push forward the democratic process under way in the North African country. 
   King Mohammed VI praised Mr. El Fassi for his "patriotism" and for his "commitment to the sacred values," describing him as a "statesman with great experience."

   He also said that the appointment of the Istiqlal Party leader “illustrates the firm royal commitment to the democratic traditions” and shows the “interest His Majesty grants to the taking into account of the results of the September 7 elections that enabled to elect, in all transparency and sincerity, the new House of Representatives, in light of which the new Prime Minister has been appointed.”

   In his first statement as Prime Minister, Mr. El Fassi said he was “proud of the confidence placed in him by King Mohammed VI” and that he would “respect to the letter” the monarch’s “advises and orientations” adding that he will start as by tomorrow Thursday his contacts with the other political parties prior to the formation of the new cabinet.

    The appointment of Mr. El Fassi came few days after the separate meetings held by the monarch with six political parties which won over 20 seats in theses elections, a figure that constitutes a threshold required by the House's regulations to form parliamentary groups.

   The appointment of a Prime Minister by the king is conform to article 24 of the Constitution.

   Born in Berkane, east of Morocco, Mr. El Fassi was State Minister without portfolio in the outgoing government made up of a coalition of five parties. Before that, he was Minister of Housing (1977-1981), Minister of Handicraft and Social Affairs (1981-1985), Ambassador to Tunisia and to the Arab League (1985-1990), Ambassador to France (1990-1994)and Minister of Employment, Professional training, Social Development and Solidarity (2000-2002).

    During his meetings, September 13, with the six political leaders, the monarch expressed his firm resolve to carry on “the great democratic breakthroughs achieved in Morocco," and voiced commitment to “the consultative and participative process” launched with the  political parties’ leaders on “major issues of the country,” including the appointment of the new government.

    The other five leaders received by the king are: Saadeddine Othmani, Secretary General of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD, 46 seats), Mahjoubi Aherdane, President of the Popular Movement (MP, 41 seats), Mustapha Mansouri, President of the National Rally of Independents (RNI,39 seats),  Mohamed El Yazghi, Secretary general of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP, 38 seats), and Mohamed Abied, Secretary General of the Constitutional Union (UC,27 seats).

    33 parties participated in the September 7 elections that were marked by a record-low turnout of 37% of the 15.5 million eligible voters.

    These elections are the second since the enthronement of King Mohammed VI in 1999 following the demise of his father, King Hassan II.

Last modification 09/19/2007 10:31 PM.
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