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King's decision comes after Abdelilah Benkirane's PJD wins 125 seats in lower house of parliament in Friday's elections.

Abdelilah Benkirane, leader of Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party, has been appointed for another term as the country's prime minister.

Mohammed VI, the king of Morocco, made the announcement on Monday, after Benkirane's party, the PJD, emerged with the most number of seats in the 395-seat lower house of parliament. 

"I can confirm his majesty named him as the new prime minister," said Mustapha Ramid, outgoing justice minister and a senior PJD party official, after attending the nomination.

Benkirane, a politician from the capital Rabat, has been serving as prime minister since November 2011. 

In Friday's elections, his PJD party, which has been running a coalition government since 2011, won 125 seats, while the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) came second with 102 seats.

The Istiqlal (Independence) Party - the oldest in the country, founded in 1944 - came third winning 46 seats, followed by the National Rally of Independents (RNI) with 37 seats, and Popular Movement (MP) with 27.

Benkirane and the PJD will now reach out to other parties to form a coalition government, because the multi-party system in the kingdom makes it impossible for any political party to win an absolute majority.

Only 43 percent of the 16 million registered voters cast their ballot in Friday's elections.

The low voter engagement is widely considered a message of disappointment to political parties, which remain unable to motivate the country's citizens, and especially the youth.

Morocco's parliament is made up of two directly elected chambers: the lower house and the 270-member House of Advisers or upper house.

Of the 395 members of the lower house, 305 are elected in multi-seat constituencies from electoral lists put together by the parties, while 60 seats of the remaining 90 are reserved for a national list of women and the rest 30 seats are set aside for candidates under the age of 35. 

The country's new constitution, which was approved in a referendum in 2011, however, introduced amendments that stripped the king of some of his political powers.

The amendments strengthened the authority of the country's prime minister, allowing him/her to appoint government officials and dissolve parliament - authorities previously held only by the king.

The new constitution also ensures that the prime minister is selected from the party that received the most votes in election, rather than the king naming whomever he pleases.

Mass protests that rocked much of the Middle East in 2011 and challenged the balance of power in many Arab countries made an impact on Morocco too, paving the way for the adoption of a new constitution and for the PJD to come to power.

Morocco's Islamist Justice and Development Party won the largest number of seats in the country's new parliament, according to election results announced Saturday, but it will need to form a coalition government with several smaller parties because it lacks a majority.

Interior Minister Mohammed Hassad announced the results, which indicated that outgoing Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane's Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 125 seats out of 395. The second-largest party, the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), which has close ties to the monarchy, ran a close second with 102 seats.

Moroccan TV showed residents of the capital, Rabat, applauding and cars honking in the streets after results were announced. But the PJD will have a difficult time forming a coalition government, many analysts said. The PAM has said it will not form a coalition with the PJD, forcing it to ally with smaller parties — and many of the PJD's former coalition partners lost strength in the election.

Stressing the positive

At a news conference, Benkirane declared his party had won a major victory. He said he wouldn't discuss the details of the election but insisted that the results were completely positive. He noted that in some cities his party had won six out of eight seats, and three out of four in the city of Sellah.

Morocco's electoral system precludes any one party from obtaining an outright majority. Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, told VOA that Morocco's system is geared to make King Mohammed VI the final arbiter of the country's politics — the king chooses the prime minister from the party with the largest number of seats in parliament — and that the Justice and Development Party would therefore not wield a great deal of power.

"It is just the leading party in parliament but it lacks the power to pass legislation, because with the presence of so many parties in parliament, the cabinet [is] fragmented and weak," he said. "This way, the king and his political establishment [dominate] political events."

Palestinians in the Beddawi refugee camp in northern Lebanon closed UNRWA’s office with chains in protest against the organisation after it stopped their health benefits.

Staff was prevented access to the building as protesters called for support “in order not to lose their rights”.

They said the building would remain closed indefinitely until their demands were met.

A meeting had been held yesterday in an attempt to resolve the issues, however no solution was found and the protest went ahead.

Home to more than 16,500 registered Palestinian refugees the Beddawi camp has one kindergarten and seven schools, including one secondary school. It also has one UNRWA run health centre.

The Tunisian parliament approved overwhelmingly on Friday to decrease its administrative expenses as part of an internal austerity plan, Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed Al-Nasser has announced.

According to Moheet.com, Tunisian MPs discussed the parliament budget for 2017 and approved it with the austerity plan.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce in Tunisia predicts losses on the export of sugar during 2017 to reach around 226 million Dinars ($102.3 million). The losses are expected to be absorbed by the public budget.

The trade body also said that it would approve the automatic price modification for selling sugar to the industrial sector based on the cost price. This will take effect from the start of 2017 in order to reduce the volume of the expected losses.

on the occasion of the House of Representatives’ 150th year, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi began his speech by offering his condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of member of parliament Amira Refaat who died in a car accident on her way to Sharm El-Sheikh.

 

The parliament is considered as a “mirror” that reflects what is happening in Egyptian society, Al-Sisi said in his speech on Sunday morning.

 

“Youth representation in the parliament has reached 40%. Of the 596 members of parliament, we have 90 female members, and also disabled members. The 2014 Constitution has guaranteed the parliament a very broad and unprecedented authority,” the president said.

 

The celebration in Sharm El-Sheikh was attended by head of the Arab Parliament Ahmed Al Garwan, head of the African Parliamentary Union Roger Nkodo Dang, and secretary general of International Parliamentary Union Martin Chungong. These officials also gave speeches to congratulate the Egyptian parliament on marking 150 years.

 

Prior to Al-Sisi’s speech, parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal spoke to the attendees, calling on “foreign” powers to not interfere in the region’s internal affairs and to engage in effective dialogue to restore stability.

 

Moreover, he asserted that the parliament carries out its work with the respect of international legitimacy, and works with the United Nations to eliminate weapons of mass destruction.

 

“The Egyptian parliament refuses any interference in countries’ internal affairs. Countries’ sovereignty should be respected and agitation policies must desist,” Abdul Aal said.

 

He further praised the 2014 Constitution for building a strict, democratic political environment in Egypt, adding that Egypt was subjected to numerous foreign and domestic challenges before and during the drafting of the Constitution.

 

“Despite foreign and domestic challenges facing Egypt during this period, Egypt did not impose exceptional measures, even though these challenges might have led to the collapse of the state and brought about chaos,” he clarified.

 

Last week, the second legislative year of the House of Representatives commenced following a one-month break.

 

This year, the parliament is facing several publicly controversial issues, especially on the economic level, such as the flotation of the Egyptian pound. Moreover, the cabinet has proposed an anti-immigration law following the drowning of hundreds who attempted to migrate to Europe illegally from Rashid, which brought the issue to its peak.

 

In another incident, MP Elhamy Agina has come under fire due to several remarks that are offensive to women, regarding female genital mutilation (FGM) and virginity tests. Several MPs, such as Al-Wafd party members, are calling for his dismissal from the parliament.

 

Today’s celebration has been funded by the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, the ministries of tourism, culture, youth and sports, and telecommunications, in addition to EgyptAir and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in hopes of promoting the touristic city that is currently in decline, according to state media citing MP Osama Heikal.

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