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Vol 58 No 2

Published 20th January 2017


Benkirane's 'bras de fer'

The clash between the Palace and the Islamist PJD will shape politics as much as the kingdom's efforts to rejoin the AU

The struggle over who will join Morocco's next coalition government has continued into the new year and could continue for some time yet. The coalition is again to be led by the 'moderate Islamist' Prime Minister since 2011, the leader of the Parti de la justice et du développement, Abdelilah Benkirane. The manoeuvres of two other very contrasting politicians have already generated months of headlines as caciques (political bosses) compete for seats in government or a leading role in the opposition. They are the entrepreneur-turned-minister Aziz Akhannouch, who leads the Rassemblement national des indépendants (RNI) and Istiqlal's pugnacious former trade unionist leader, Abdel Hamid Chabat. Away from the headlines, though, insiders and close observers say the real political contest comprises a 'bras de fer' (arm-wrestling, i.e. a trial of strength) between King Mohammed VI and the PJD.

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