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Morocco: former prime minister warns of conspiracy

Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane delivers a speech during his election campaign ahead of the General elections in Morocco, on September 25, 2016 at the Prince Moulay Abdellah stadium in Rabat, Morocco. ( Jalal Morchidi - Anadolu Agency )
Former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Morocco, on 25 September 2016 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (2011-2017) warned on Sunday that he feels that, "Something is being cooked up in secret regarding the 8 September elections" in the Kingdom, Anadolu has reported. He did not provide any details.

Legislative and local elections are scheduled to be held on Wednesday, in which the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which heads the government coalition with 125 out 395 seats in parliament, and the National Rally of Independents (RNI), which has 37 MPs and is a partner in the coalition, are expected to be the main competitors for votes. The RNI is led by Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch.

"I do not know if this will change the details that are being prepared or not, but I am quite sure that what is being arranged is not in the best interest of the country," said Benkirane, the former secretary-general of the PJD, which won elections in 2011 and 2016. "I had decided not to participate in the electoral campaign in one way or another, but events made me feel that I had to contribute, even partially." He has apparently been dissatisfied with some of his party's policies.

"Elections will not be a secondary event in Morocco. They are essential and will give citizens the opportunity once every five years to choose who will assume the responsibility of government," he explained on Facebook. "Fellow Moroccans, be careful about who becomes your prime minister while you are voting."

READ: In Morocco senior Justice and Development Party official quits ministerial post

The former official criticised Akhannouch. "We are supposed to vote for him as the inevitable prime minister after the Moroccans boycotted his companies." This was a reference to the 2018 popular campaign to boycott the products of three companies, one of which was an oil company owned by Akhannouch, to demand a cut in prices.

Nevertheless, Benkirane called on the people of Morocco to vote in large numbers. "Do not listen to those who tell you to boycott the elections, because they are ignorant… Vote for whoever you want, and I will vote for the Justice and Development Party."

Along with the PJD and the RNI, the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and the Independence Party are also electoral forces with 102 and 46 MPs respectively.

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