The much-awaited government reshuffle has been announced after months of speculations and crises within the cabinet coalition.
Despite King Mohammed VI’s instructions to inject fresh blood into the government with a new generation of names in Moroccan politics, most of the newly appointed ministers’ faces are familiar on Morocco’s political scene.
Anas Doukkali, a member of the Progress and Socialism Party (PPS) lost his position as the Minister of Health. The new cabinet will see him replaced by Khalid Ait Taleb.
Mohamed Amkraz, also from the PJD, will replace his fellow party member Mohamed Yatim as Minister of Employment.
Member of Morocco’s Constitutional Party Houssein Abyaba will replace Minister of Sports and Youth Rachid Talbi Alami. Abyaba will also replace the Spokesperson of the Moroccan Government, and Mustafa El Khalfi. The new government spokesperson is also tipped to become Minister for Culture, leaving him with three top government roles.
Mohamed Benabdelkader, member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) will replace Mohamed Aujar as the Minister of Justice.
USFP lost its position in the Ministry delegate in charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad after the appointment of PJD members Nezha El Ouafi to replace Abdelkrim Benatiq.
Nadia Fettah, who is a new face in the government, will replace Mohamed Sajid Minister of Tourism.
PJD will retain its position in the Ministry of Human Rights, headed by party member Mustapha Ramid.
Other officials who will keep their positions include Minister of Energy Aziz Rabbah from the PJD ; Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch from the National Rally of Independents (RNI).
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, Minister of Economy and Finance Mohammed Benchaaboun, Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Ellalmi, Minister of Education Said Amzazi; and Minister of Logistics Abdelkader Amara will also retain their government seats.
Other members leaving the current government include Minister of Solidarity and Family Bassima Hakkaoui, and Secretary of state to the ministry for transport Najib Boulif.
Minister of Culture Mohamed Laraaj , Minister of Governance Lahcen Daoudi, and Secretary of State to the Minister of Industry Rkia Derham also lost their government positions in the reshuffle.
Revitalizing Morocco’s political elite
In his latest speeches, King Mohammed VI called on the Head of Government to revitalize Morocco’s political elite and renew its public services. The King was clear that high-level national elites should be “chosen on merit and competence.”
The King said in his Throne Day Speech that he had tasked Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani to prepare a list of competent elites eligible to take part in government.
The monarch urged El Othmani to consider people with high competencies in order to contribute to the country’s social development.
“I ask the Head of Government to submit to me, after the summer break, proposals to fill executive posts in the Government and the civil service with high-level national elites chosen on merit and competence,” he said.
Morocco’s socio-economic stability is precarious, provoking the Kin to call for a new development model to serve the demands of Moroccan citizens.
Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Morocco’s Central Bank made it clear in front of the monarch that Morocco’s economic performance does not meet growing social demands. The top banker made his comment in the King’s presence ahead of the Throne Day speech.
The reshuffle is not the first of its kind under the leadership of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD).
In 2017, King Mohammed VI sacked Benkirane for delays in forming a government through coalition with other parties.
The King subsequently appointed El Othmani, who promised to make his ministers work to serve the demands of Moroccan citizens.
In January 2018, the King received the five new ministers set to fill the vacant positions in the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Urban Planning, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of African Cooperation, and the secretary of state to the Minister of Education.
Among the appointed ministers was Anas Doukkali, Minister of Health whose party the Progress and Socialism Party (PPS) recently decided to withdraw from the recent government coalition.
Earlier this month, the PPS issued a statement to announce its decision to leave the coalition. Doukkali, however, strongly contested the party’s decision. His colleagues, particularly the party’s leader Nabil Benabdellah and party member Charafat Afilal criticized him for rejecting the party’s unanimous vote.
Afilal called Doukkali an opportunist, who does not want to leave his position as a minister. She said that despite his presence on the political scene since 2010, Doukkali does not “get the political codes right.”
“Leaving the government is not the end of the world,” she argued.