Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has selected 19 ministers to form a new coalition government following months of uncertainty over the future of the country’s parliament.

The new ministers are from the centre-right National Rally of Independents party (RNI) and replace ministers from the more conservative Islamist Istiqlal party, who resigned in early July.

The new appointments weaken the position of Islamist groups within the government, but remove the need to hold fresh elections.

The Istiqlal party members left the government in protest partly at efforts to reform the country’s food and fuel subsidies bill. 

Tensions within the ruling coalition had been growing, with the Istiqlal party complaining that its coalition partner, the Islamist Justice and Development party (PJD), was dominating the government’s decision-making.The Istiqlal party is the second-largest party of the four groups that comprise the coalition government.

The king has increased the number of ministers to 39 from 30 and placed his allies and members of the RNI in key positions.

  • Salaheddine Mezouar, the RNI leader, has become the foreign minister.
  • Mohamed Hassad, chairman of the Tangier Mediterranean Special Agency and a technocrat, has been named as interior minister.
  • RNI member and governor of Casablanca, Mohamed Boussaid, has been selected as economy and finance minister.

The PJD came to power in early 2011 after constitutional reforms were introduced following popular protests for greater democracy.