Benkirane Decides to Form Coalition Government Without Chabat

Casablanca – Morocco’s appointed head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, has decided to form the government without the Secretary-General of the Independence Party (IP), Hamid Chabat.Abdelilah Benkirane, Morocco’s appointed head of government and secretary-General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), who is entrusted with the mission of forming a coalition government, has purportedly decided to cut the Independence Party loose following the statement of its Secretary-General, Hamid Chabat, about Mauritania’s territorial integrity and the domestic and international conflicts it has resulted in.Deliberations regarding the government’s formation, which began in October after the appointment of Benkirane at the head of the government, faced a long ‘blockage’ as the National Rally of Independent (RNI) and other parties said they would only  participate in the government if the IP was left out. Benkirane had promised the IP that they would participate in his government, refusing to give up on it. One source tells Alyaoum24 that current events have put Morocco’s politics in a delicate situation where “any admittance of the Independence Party in the upcoming government coalition may send provocative messages and threaten Morocco’s interests.”The government formation after Chabat’s latest statements now goes beyond Chabat and Akhannouch’s previous objection on his participation, continued the source, noting that “the issue is related to a delicate situation and a moment where Morocco should not be confused.”The source justified Benkirane’s new decision to move on without IP, stating that “when Chabat first came to Benkirane, he was endorsed by the seniors of the party who coordinated with him, which is not the case anymore, after the latest events within the party.”This latest development may put an end to the stagnancy that has characterized the local political scene for almost two months.Chabat’s latest statements, namely saying that Mauritania lies on Moroccan land, created uproar within Morocco and threatened to exacerbate already strained diplomatic relations with Mauritania. This represented a turning point in Morocco’s political scene.Benkirane again met with the RNI Secretary General on December 29 amidst a state of disturbance within the Independence Party, which culminated in a statement released by old and current members of the Party condemning its Secretary General’s blunder.

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