x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Morocco appoints new PM

King Mohammed VI yesterday appointed Morocco's first Islamist prime minister and charged him with forming a government following his party's historic election win.

MIDELT, MOROCCO // King Mohammed VI yesterday appointed Morocco's first Islamist prime minister and charged him with forming a government following his party's historic election win.

Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), will now lead talks on forming a coalition cabinet, the palace said in a statement.

"He was appointed as the head of the government, in accordance with the new constitution, and will be responsible for forming the new government," the palace said in a statement.

Mr Benkirane took the oath of office after a brief meeting with the king and was expected to start coalition talks shortly.

The appointment capped a series of firsts in the north African nation: the first poll since the king introduced constitutional reforms as Arab Spring protests shook the region; the first time an Islamist party won a national poll; the first time the king had to name a premier from the winning party; and the first time an Islamist party will lead a government.

The PJD, which has sworn allegiance to the monarchy, won 107 of the 395 seats in parliament.

The party is considered to adhere to moderate Islamism, a political system that advocates following Islamic beliefs, and is not expected to make radical changes to policy since it will have to govern with several other parties.