Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Democracy In Morocco - New Government To Implement Reforms

Democracy In Morocco - New Government To Implement Reforms

By Morocco News Agency Staff

Rabat, Morocco --- January 3, 2012 ... After thirty-five days of arduous negotiations, Morocco has a new government. On January 3, 2012, Abdelilah Benkirane presented his selected ministers to King Mohammed VI for royal approval and swearing in. The ceremony took place in the Throne Room at the Royal Palace in Rabat.

The lengthy process of coalition negotiations and government forming in Morocco is bound to have tangible impact on the performance of both the government and PM Abdelilah Benkirane. 

There are huge expectations from the new government at the grassroots level. 

“Rarely in the political annals of independent Morocco has a government evoked so many hopes, expectations, promises and questions as Benkirane’s,” opined a leading Moroccan political observer. 

Most important is that the Benkiran government is the first to implement the provisions of the new Constitution. Since the Constitution was approved by an overwhelming majority in a referendum - there is widespread public commitment to its implementation. To a great extent, Benkirane was elected as the political leader most trusted to be able to undertake this task. Indeed, according to an early-December poll conducted by the LMS-CSA Institute - 82% of adult Moroccans have confidence in Benkirane’s ability to form a government that will implement the new Constitution and improve their personal and communal lot.

The vast majority of Moroccans now expect Benkirane to emerge as a national - rather than partisan-political - leader capable of ushering Morocco into a new era of modernization and democratization. 

For the public, Benkirane now represents “the apostle” of a “participatory approach” to governance. There is grassroots endorsement of the government’s decision to give high priority to justice, education, employment, housing and health care. This is a mighty challenge not only on its own, but particularly given the overall context of regional turmoil and global uncertainty. 

The Euro crisis and the global recession already have adverse impact on Morocco’s economy and society.  Benkirane takes office bearing the weight of a heavy responsibility to address difficult challenges while remaining attuned to, in the words of the leading Moroccan political observer: “the groans of the street and the vagaries of the economy”. 

The new government in Morocco will be facing many challenges. 

The Moroccan grassroots expect to quickly feel some progress in the five priority areas set by Benkirane: justice, education, unemployment, health and housing. These are, Benkirane repeatedly stated, “the strategic areas for improving the lives of all Moroccans.” 

Implementation constitutes mighty economic undertaking. In order to reduce unemployment and raise the standard of living, Morocco will have to markedly improve the growth rate of the GDP. At the same time, Morocco must ensure the medium-term sustainability of public finances in order to guarantee stability and continuity. Finding the delicate compromise is the main challenge facing the new coalition government in the immediate term. 

The solution advocated by the PJD during the election campaign - namely, recovering additional funds through “the fight against corruption, privilege and inequality, good governance and the reform of justice and administration” - will neither suffice nor deliver results in a timely manner. 

Hence, explains a senior PJD official, the real major challenge of the Benkirane government is to immediately commence “building a strong and sustainable economy, able to absorb the effects of the international crisis and cope with the ensuing economic constraints on wealth creation but not consumption.” 

Moreover, the members of the new government in Morocco cannot ignore the political reality that they will return to seeking public endorsement in the forthcoming local and regional elections, and, subsequently, in the next parliamentary elections. This means that in selecting the means to implement the social and economic program - the Benkirane government must not only abide by the guidelines of the new Constitution, but also ensure the sustenance of public support.

In accordance with the new Constitution, Benkirane must submit in the coming days his government’s program statement for the approval of both Houses of Parliament to be followed by a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives. 

Formally, this vote will complete the three elements required to ensure the “democratic change” process, explained the leading Moroccan political observer. The first element is “fair and transparent elections.” 

The November 25 parliamentary elections were unanimously recognized as such. The second element is “respect for the democratic rule in the constitution of the government and by entrusting the responsibility of the head of government to the party who obtained the largest number of seats.” 

The King’s selection and nomination of Benkirane, the leader of the party that won plurality, as the next prime minister of Morocco addressed this requirement.

The third element is setting “optimal implementation of the provisions of the new Constitution, especially in the direction of strengthening the powers of the prime minister and Parliament.” 

The presentation of the new government’s program for a vote of confidence will complete this requirement - thus setting Morocco on the path to further democratization.

The new Government of Morocco as appointed and sworn in by King Mohammed VI consists of: Abdelilah Benkirane: Prime Minister and Head of the Government, Abdellah Baha: State Minister, Mohand Laenser: Minister of the Interior, Saad-Eddine El Othmani: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, 
Mustafa Ramid: Minister of Justice and Liberties, Ahmed Toufiq: Minister of Entitlements and Islamic Affairs, Driss Dahak: Secretary-General of the Government, Nizar Baraka: Minister of Economics and Finance, Nabil Benabdellah: Minister of Housing, Town Planning and Urban Policy, Aziz Akhannouch: Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mohamed El Ouafa: Minister of National Education, Lahcen Daoudi: Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, Mohamed Ouzzine: Minister of Youth and Sports, Aziz Rabbah: Minister of Equipment and Transport, El Hossein El Ouardi: Minister of Health, Mustapha El Khalfi: Minister of Communications, spokesman for the Government, Fouad Douiri: Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment, Abdelouahed Souhail: Minister of Labor and Vocational Training, Abdelkader A├ómara: Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies, Lahcen Haddad: Minister of Tourism, Bassima Hakkaoui: Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, Mohamed Amine Sbihi: Minister of Culture, Abdessamad Qaiouh: Minister of Handicrafts, Lahbib Choubani : Minister in charge of Relations with Parliament and Civil Society, Abdellatif Loudiyi: Minister Delegate to the Head of the Government in charge of the Administration of National Defense, Abdellatif Maazouz: Minister Delegate to the Head of the Government in Charge of the Moroccans Living Abroad, Charki Draiss: Minister Delegate to the Interior Minister, Youssef Amrani: Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohamed Najib Boulif: Minister Delegate to the Head of the Government in charge of General Affairs and Governance, Abdel├ódim El Guerrouj: Minister Delegate to the Head of the Government in Charge of Civil Service and the Administration Modernization and Idriss Azami Al Idrissi: Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economics and Finance in Charge of the Budget.


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