Morocco: the second Benkirane cabinet, strong on women

RNI party gains eight ministries, including foreign affairs

11 October, 15:43

    (by Stefano Oliviero) (ANSAmed) - RABAT, OCTOBER 11 - After lengthy negotiations, Moroccan King Mohammed VI last night appointed a new government and put an end to a crisis that began with the July defection of the conservative Istiqlal (Independence) Party due to irreconcilable differences over the way the executive was doing its job. As had been a given in political analysis circles, the government will still be led by Abdellilah Benkirane, who is the chief of the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD). But the king's fledgling cabinet has some significant new entries, which have surprised pundits and analysts alike.

    Among these is former national chamber of commerce chief and Saham Holding Group founder Moulay Hafid El Alamy, who has been appointed to the key ministry of industry, trade, investment and the digital economy. The National Rally of Independents (RNI), a center-right liberal party, was the big winner in the government shake-up with eight ministerial posts.

    RNI Chairman Salaheddine Mezouar heads the prestigious foreign affairs and cooperation ministry, while the current Casablanca prefect, Mohamed Boussaid, is the new minister of economy and finance.

    The novelty is an unprecedented five new women ministers, in addition to the sole female minister from the previous cabinet: Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development Minister Bassima Hakkaoui, who was reconfirmed in her post.

    The five appointees include an icon of the new political generation, Mbarka Bouaida, 38, as foreign affairs delegate minister, and Fatima Marouane as the new minister of crafts, and social and solidarity economy.

    A computer engineer from the PJD, Soumiya Benkhaldoun, is the new higher education, research and training delegate minister.

    With environmental issues now at the forefront of the national debate, the ministry for energy, mining, water and the environment has two new women delegate ministers: Charafat Afilal, 41, an engineer with an extensive curriculum, is in charge of water and Hakima El Hiti, a doctor in environmental science, is in charge of the environment. A committed feminist, El Hiti is also vice president of the Liberal Women's International. (ANSAmed).

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