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Benkirane: Morocco is an example for the region

The Moroccan political experience under the Islamists Justice and Development Party coalition government has provided a model across the region despite the challenges encountered and tremors that followed the revolutions in a number of neighbouring countries, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane said.

Benkirane's remarks came during a presentation of his government's achievements during the first half of its legislative mandate in front of the Moroccan parliament yesterday evening.

During the presentation, Benkirane praised his government's performance over the past two and a half years and described them as "reassuring and honourable".

He remembered the "difficult conditions" under which his government was formed after the country lived the impact of mass protests similar to a number of neighbouring countries, with the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011. Stressing that the experiment of the current government has contributed to "lift the country out of a phase when the streets were inflamed and succeeded in keeping the streets of Morocco quiet today".

Benkirane said that people and nations have interacted with the popular movement in the Arab world to varying degrees which emerged as a deep shift and raised fears about the government's ability to ensure the country's stability and achieve political, economic and social reforms.

The premier said that his government has been unable to comply with all its obligations to support the poor and thanked the Moroccans for their patience after increasing fuel prices.

During his presentation on the government's achievements in field of women's and human rights, female parliamentarians lifted banners demanding he respect women's rights and withdraw his previous statements which some consider "offensive" while others felt "they were taken out of context".

In January 2012, Morocco's King Mohammed VI inaugurated a new government led by the Islamist Justice and Development Party, following the party's victory in the early legislative elections in November 2011.

The election came after a wave of mass protests in the Kingdom led by the February 20 Movement demanding political and economic reforms which the Moroccan King responded to with the introduction of constitutional amendments which were considered by some opposition parties and human rights organisations as "inadequate".

Last year Morocco experienced a crisis which almost caused the coalition to collapse after the Independence Party, the second largest political party withdrew from the government. However, Benkirane succeeded in convincing the opposition National Rally of Independents to join the coalition leading the Moroccan King to inaugurate the new government, led by Benkirane to a second term.

Several opposition parties have sharply criticised Benkirane's government and accuse the ruling Justice and Development Party of failing to meet its electoral promises and of taking unpopular decisions including increasing prices and an indifference towards workers' demands to improve their conditions.

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