King Mohammed VI of Morocco paid a visit to former Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi, an iconic figure of Moroccan politics, last Saturday. Mr. Youssoufi is currently suffering from a bad cold and respiratory complications and was admitted to the Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zaid Hospital a few days ago.
King Mohammed met Mr. Youssoufi in his hospital room, accompanied by his close friend and adviser Fouad Ali El Himma. The visit lasted for around 15 minutes, during which the Monarch broke protocol to kiss the former Prime Minister on the top of his head.
A photo of the touching moment shows King Mohammed in a blue shirt, kissing a smiling Youssoufi. The photo was widely circulated on social media, and an article which was shared by Aljazeera TV anchor Faisal al-Qassem on his Facebook page received 21,000 likes and almost a thousand shares in one day. Many have praised the King for his humility, as this is the first time a Moroccan monarch has bowed down to someone else.
Abderrahmane Youssoufi was appointed Prime Minister of Morocco in February 1998 and held the post until October 2002. Youssoufi is known for having lived in a self-imposed exile in Paris for fifteen years and is credited for helping Morocco undergo a smooth transition following the death of King Hasan II and the ascension of King Mohammed VI in 1999.
Earlier this year, King Mohammed inaugurated an avenue in downtown Tangier named after the former Moroccan Prime Minister – the Avenue “Abderrahmane Youssoufi”. Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Youssoufi said that he was very moved by this tribute.
This visit comes shortly after King Mohammed VI opened the first session of the newly elected Parliament in Rabat last Saturday. The King is currently on a three-day visit to Rwanda to sign a number of agreements in an effort to strengthen the ties between and create opportunities for the citizens of the two nations.