Morocco's king names veteran politician as next PM

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RABAT, Sep 19 (Reuters) King Mohammed has chosen veteran politician and government minister Abbas el Fassi to replace technocrat Driss Jettou as Morocco's next prime minister, the royal palace announced today.

El Fassi is leader of the conservative Istiqlal (Independence) party, which became the biggest party in the Rabat assembly's lower house after a September 7 election.

Incumbent Jettou is a former businessman with no political affiliation and democracy activists had called for his replacement to be chosen from among the parties who emerged with the most seats in the election.

El Fassi is minister of state without portfolio in the outgoing administration. His first important task will be to propose a list of ministers for approval by the king.

Several parties besides Istiqlal could win ministerial posts, including the Islamist Justice and Development Party which became the second force in the lower house of parliament in the polls, which were marked by a low turnout.

Ultimate power remains with the king, who is executive head of state, military chief and religious leader.


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