Reshuffle restores Moroccan government’s majority

Morocco’s coalition government regained its majority in parliament yesterday when King Mohammed drafted an opposition party leader into the cabinet.
King Mohammed appointed Mohand Laenser, the centre-right Popular Movement leader, as a state minister without portfolio and Mohammed Ouzzine, a senior official from the same party, as junior foreign minister, an official statement said.
The move secures the support of the Popular Movements’ more than 40 lawmakers for the government.
The government lost control of the legislative body in May when a party in the coalition withdrew its support, raising questions over whether the cabinet could stay in power.
Political sources say the government needed to regain its majority in parliament before submitting a draft budget for 2010 for a vote later this year.
“With Laenser and Ouzzine in the cabinet, the government secured the support of the Popular Movement in parliament and, with its backing, a majority of more than 200 members in the 325-seat parliament,” a senior Movement official told Reuters.
Movement, which has been part of coalition governments several times in the past two decades, has been in opposition since 2007.
The Authenticity and Modernity Party, which groups staunch supporters of the king, said in May it planned to oppose the government.
Its leaders say the party would remain in opposition until parliamentary elections in 2012 when it will compete with the opposition Islamist Justice and Development Party.

Pic: Flag of Morocco