In what is being called a highly odd and unusual move, the Moroccan King has ousted the Prime Minister in an effort to put an end to a five-month deadlock over the formation of a new government.
A palace statement released late on Wednesday announced that King Mohammed VI had removed Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the Islamist Party PJD that won last year’s parliamentary elections, from his duty.
“The king extolled, on several occasions, the designated prime minister to accelerate the creation of a new government”, the statement then said The King is expected to choose another member of the PJD to replace Benkirane.
While the PJD won elections in October, they failed to gain enough seats to govern alone. They have struggled to form a coalition with rival parties.
The political confusion stemming from the five-month deadlock threatens to damage Morocco’s reputation in the region for political stability after years of upheaval in the Arab world.
Although ultimate power in Morocco rests with The King, he rarely steps in to interfere with the formation of governments. What made this occasion an exception was that he did so “to overcome the current situation of immobility” and he only did it due to “his constant concern for consolidating democratic choice.”
The King must choose a Prime Minister from the winning party. Since Benkirane failed to secure a coalition quickly someone else will now be picked.
Benkirane became Prime Minister after his moderate party won elections in 2011 in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings. The PJD managed to make an increase of 61 seats. However, they still had to form an eight-party coalition made up of both those from the left and the right. Despite gaining another 18 seats, it appears the formation of this governmental coalition was more difficult as Benkirane no longer seems to enjoy the same level of support.