​Moroccan elections: a younger and "more feminine" government looks set to pursue the Royal goals of social and economic development.

On Thursday October 7th The King of Morocco Mohammed VI appointed a new government, chaired by magnate Aziz Akhannouch, considered close to the Palace, which will have as its priority addressing the current health crisis, linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as deep social inequalities.

The new government, consisting 24 ministers, will include a younger team, with a higher female representation than ever before - seven, as opposed to four in the previous government.


Nasser Bourita

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita (pictured) is to retain his role, in which he will continue to manage regional tensions, in particular with Algeria, while Abdelouafi Laftit keeps the interior portfolio.

The three main parties that are represented in the cabinet; the RNI (National Rally of Independents) of Mr. Akhannouch, the PAM (Party of Authenticity and Modernity), both of liberal tendency, and the centre-right historical party of Istiqlal (PI) will hold eighteen of the twenty-four ministerial posts.

It is "a mix of seasoned ministers and young skills," government spokesman Mustapha Baitas told AFP.

Heads of the so-called "Sovereign Ministries” remain without political affiliation and do not fall under the prerogatives of the head of government. These are: Foreign Affairs, Interior, the National Defense Administration, the General Secretariat of the government and Habous (Islamic Affairs).

Notably, Akhannouch’s RNI, which polled the highest in the elections, has effectively ousted the Islamists who have been in power for a decade, causing them to lose 90% of their seats, a fact that will give added impetus to King Mohammed VI’s policy of the secularisation of his country which has already seen economic and social transformations during his reign, and which is becoming an increasingly important partner to the EU in terms of both trade and security.

RNI will retain the strategically important portfolios of Agriculture, Economy, Tourism, and health.

RNI’s Nabila Rmili has also been elected as the new mayor of Casablanca.

PAM, launched in 2008 by a royal advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma, inherits the Justice and Regional Planning portfolios, whilst PI, the oldest political party in Morocco, being founded in the 1940s, will take over Equipment and Industry.

"The government is based on two pillars: the programs of the three parties that make up the cabinet as well as the conclusions of the New Development Model (NMD)", a political pact establishing the socio-economic priorities of the kingdom.

This ambitious roadmap aims to respond to the slowdown in growth and reduce those deep inequalities that afflict Morocco. It also aims to double the GDP per capita by 2035.

To achieve this, the new government will have to deal with the heavy repercussions of the health crisis which saw the economy contract by 7% in 2020, the unemployment rate jumping to 11.9% the same year and the widening of social disparities.

It will also face the challenge of carrying out an ambitious project to extend medical coverage to 22 million Moroccans (out of nearly 36 million) by 2025 as announced by the King in 2020.

Also on the government’s agenda is the creation of the Mohammed-VI fund for investment, endowed with 15 billion DH (€1.4 billion) by the State and 30 billion DH (€30 billion) still to be sought from donors.

The above will fall to former Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui, who now becomes the first woman to occupy the position of Minister of Economy and Finance.

All in all, the make-up of the new government, and its stated priorities, continue to reflect the progressive and secular vision of King Mohammed VI for the social and economic advancement of his country.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

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