Moroccan Islamists’ key ally quits government, party official says

Members of the Istiqlal party distribute pamphlets as they campaign for their party near Kenitra, on November 20, 2011. (AFP)

The national council of Morocco’s conservative Istiqlal party, the main ally of the ruling Islamists, decided on Saturday to pull out of the government, a party official said.

The decision by Istiqlal, which holds several ministerial portfolios including education and the economy, could mean a general election or a cabinet reshuffle by the government headed by the Party of Justice and Development, the PJD.

In a statement, Istiqlal’s national council criticised the Islamist head of the government, Abdelilah Benkirane, for failing to take “into consideration the gravity of the social and economic situation.”

Istiqlal also said Benkirane, head of the PJD, was “monopolising decisions at the centre of government”.

A spokesman for the party, Adil Benhamza, said they would send a note to King Mohamed VI to “explain the reasons that pushed our party to take such a course of action,” adding that it was up to Benkirane to decide what step to take next.

Prior to Saturday’s decision, Istiqlal head Hamid Chabat had been increasingly critical of Benkirane’s government in the media.

The PJD, which has led the government since it dominated elections in late 2011, will have to find a new ally in government to replace Istiqlal if it wishes to avoid a new vote.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:40 - GMT 06:40