In first, three women to lead major Morocco cities

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Morocco’s capital Rabat elected a woman as mayor for the first time on Friday, meaning three of the kingdom’s main cities are led by women following elections earlier this month.

“It’s a historical day for the city of lights,” Asmaa Rhlalou, 52, said after Rabat’s municipal council chose her as mayor of the city of 550,000 people.

The vote follows nationwide parliamentary, regional and municipal polls on September 8.

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Rhlalou’s party, the National Rally of Independents (RNI), thrashed long-ruling Islamists nationally to put its leader, businessman Aziz Akhannouch, in line to lead a new government.

On Monday, Nabila Rmili – another RNI member – was elected as mayor of Casablanca, Morocco’s commercial capital and biggest city with 3.5 million residents.

And in tourist hotspot Marrakech, Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) candidate Fatima Zahra Mansouri returned at the age of 45 to the mayor’s office which she had occupied from 2009 to 2015.

The PAM came second in this month’s parliamentary elections and third in regional polls. The party was founded by Fouad Ali El Himma, now an adviser to King Mohammed VI.

Prime minister-designate Akhannouch was also elected Friday as mayor of seaside town Agadir, his stronghold where he was the only candidate.

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