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Morocco: Benkirane refuses to run for party leadership for a year

Morocco’s former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Morocco on 16 March 2017 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]
Morocco’s former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane in Rabat, Morocco on 16 March 2017 [FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images]

The former Secretary-General of Morocco's Justice and Development Party has said that he will not run for the party leadership at this week's extraordinary conference, Anadolu has reported. Abdelilah Benkirane was the Prime Minister of Morocco between 2011 and 2017.

Benkirane, 67, is emerging as a candidate having led the party at the 2011 and 2016 elections. After this year's parliamentary election, he went to the opposition back benches.

"After seeing the approval of the party's National Council for the proposal by the outgoing General Secretariat to have a one-year deadline until the next national conference," he wrote on Facebook, "I am not interested in any nomination for me if the extraordinary conference approves the proposal."

That extraordinary conference is scheduled for 30 October. Delegates will vote to decide whether or not a new leadership is elected for just one year, and not the usual four year term. If that is the case, Benkirane will not stand as a candidate.

The party's National Council approved by a majority on Saturday to set a one-year deadline for holding the regular national conference, which was scheduled for December, before the General Secretariat proposed postponing it after calling for the extraordinary conference. The party has to elect a new leadership after the resignation of the team headed by Saadeddine Othmani, following a disastrous result in the September parliamentary election. The Justice and Development Party won just 13 seats, compared with 125 in the 2016 election.

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