(Rabat) The head of the National Rally of Independents (RNI), Aziz Akhannouch, welcomed “the people’s will to change” on Thursday, a day after his party’s victory in the Moroccan parliamentary elections and the defeat of the Islamists of the ruling PJD for a decade.
Posted on Sep 9, 2021 at 10:27 am
“It is a victory for democracy” and “an explicit expression of the people’s will to change,” said Mr. Akhannouch, a wealthy businessman close to the Royal Palace, in a post-election speech.
The President of the RNI is the favorite to succeed the Prime Minister of the General Secretary of the Justice and Development Party (PJD, moderate Islamist), Saad-Eddine El Othmani.
Indeed, it is up to King Mohammed VI to elect the head of government within the winning party who will be responsible for establishing an executive for a five-year term.
The RNI (liberal) won the parliamentary elections with 97 elections ahead of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM, liberal) and the Istiqlal party (center right), which received 82 and 78 seats (out of 395), respectively.
The PJD collapsed, dropping from 125 seats in the outgoing congregation to 12.
The RNI – led by Mr. Akhannouch, one of the kingdom’s first fortunes, Minister of Agriculture since 2007 – had already played a crucial role in the outgoing government, where it controlled strategic ministries such as economy and industry.
He has been a member of all government coalitions for 23 years, with the exception of a brief period between 2012 and 2013.
The former head of government and former general secretary of the PJD, Abdelilah Benkirane, for his part, called on his successor as executive chief El Othmani to resign after the defeat of the Islamist party.
“After learning of the painful defeat of our party, the party’s general secretary must take responsibility and submit his resignation,” he wrote in a letter on Facebook on Thursday.
Since its first participation in the 1997 parliamentary elections, the PJD had continued its rise until 2011 after the protests of the “Movement of the 20th Corruption and Arbitrariness”.
But that party was never really responsible for the most important portfolios.