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Islamist PJD Heads Four Party Coalition with Palace Nominees

After 35 days of negotiations Morocco has an Islamic led government. Key defense portfolios are out of the Islamists hands.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 1/3/2012, 10:23 PM

After 35 days of coalition negotiations Morocco has a government headed by the Islamist Justice and Development party (PJD) the victor in the November 25 parliamentary elections. The coalition is composed of the PJD, the ex-communist Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS), and the liberal Popular Movement (MP).

In addition to Prime Minister Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane the PJD have 11 other cabinet posts out of 31. The Islamists will also control the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Justice and the Communications Ministry.

The Minister of Interior (who controls the police) Mohand Laenser is a member of the Popular Movement while the Minister of Defense is Abdellatif Loudiyi an independent with ties to the palace..

The palace has given the new government some rope but is keeping it on a string.  King Mohammed VI still has a veto power. He has independent ministers with ties to the palace inside the government including the Agriculture and Religious Affairs ministers.

Benkirane has promised reforms and keeping the promises made during elections. That will be a tall order as his party promised a growth rate of 7% a deficit of 3% and 250,000 new jobs added each year. As other world leaders could tell him the international economy will have a great deal to say about whether these objectives can be met.