By Nidal Chebbak
By Nidal Chebbak
Morocco World News
Fez- Midlet, November 29, 2011
Less than 48 hours after the “historic” win of the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) in the Moroccan legislative elections, the PJD’s Secretary General Abdelilah Benkirane was summoned to the Royal Palace in Midelt to meet with the King Mohammed VI.
The King Mohammed VI was in Midelt to launch the Solidarity Campaign in the region, but many people were speculating about the reason why Midelt was the city where the later-to-be appointed, Abdelilah Benkirane, were to meet with the monarch.
A year ago, the previous mayor of Midelt and what is referred to as the Regional Secretary of the PJD in Midelt area, Mohammed Hanini, was accused and arrested of bribery and influence peddling. As a result of these accusations, the PJD ousted him out of the party.
The arrested mayor was filmed while making negotiations about a bribe with a merchant in Midelt for a license to extend a mobile space for children plays. The merchant offered a sum of money that the mayor found so little and demanded more. The seven minutes video was put on Youtube, and it spread all over the net within hours.
In several interviews and appearances of Benkirane on the national channels, this topic was brought up many times as to question the serious willingness of the PJD to confront and fight corruption in the country. Benkirane never denied the incident and he always confirmed that the PJD suspended the tasks of the previous mayor of Midelt within the party without offering him any help in anyway, because he broke the rules of honesty and integrity, and he does not represent the PJD anymore.
Today, Benkirane was called to Midlet, where he later was appointed Chief of Government, which generated various speculations as to whether it is a message to the PJD or just a mere coincidence.
Last week’s legislative election was the first election in the north African country since the King Mohammed VI introduced constitutional reforms that were overwhelmingly adopted in a referendum held last July.
As a results of the new constitution, the king had to choose a prime minister from the winning party instead of naming whoever he pleases, as in the past.
This is the third time in Morocco’s recent history that the King appoint the Chief of Government from the party that wins the elections. The first time was in 1997 when the party of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, led by Abderrahman Youssefi, was placed first in the elections. Soon after the polls, the former opponent of the late King Hassan II was appointed Prime Minister.
In the 2007 elections, the Istiqlal party of the Abbas el Fassi, was the winning party, as it obtained 52 seats and Abbas el Fassi was entrusted with the task of forming a coalition government.
Reporting from Fez by Niddal Chebbakc. Editing By Adnane Bennis and Benjamin Villanti