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Morocco Has New Government

King Mohammed VI swore in a new government Tuesday after 35 days of coalition talks.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 1/4/2012, 12:19 PM

One year after the region ignited with the flames of the Arab Spring, Morocco's King Mohammed VI has sworn in a new government. The ceremony came after 35 days of coalition talks, which followed the November 25 parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, who heads the Islamic PJD (Justice and Development) party, presented the new ministers to the Moroccan monarch at the Royal Palace in Rabat for his final approval and the swearing-in ceremony.

"Rarely in the political annals of independent Morocco has a government evoked so many hopes, expectations, promises and questions as Benkirane's, an unnamed Moroccan politican analyst told the official Morocco News Agency.

The first item on the agenda of the new government in the implementation of the country's new Constitution, approved in a recent referendum.

Benkirane is seen as the person most likely to be able to accomplish this task, according to the news agency, but still will face the challenge of having to make positive changes in a relatively short period of time to keep the public happy.

Five priority areas set by the new prime minister -- justice, education, unemployment, health and housing -- have been targeted as "the strategic areas for improving the lives of all Moroccans." 

However, walking the tightrope of coalition politics while increasing the growth rate of the GDP through "the groans of the economy," as a political observer quoted by the news agency put it, is likely to be a difficult challenge.

According to the new law, Benkirane, whose party won 107 seats in the new parliament, must submit his government's program statement to a three-step process designed to ensure "democratic change" in Morocco's 395-seat legislature: a vote by both Houses of Parliament for approval, as well as a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives.