Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has accepted the resignations of ministers from the secular Istiqlal party from the cabinet.

However, he urged the ministers to remain in the roles while the government looks to form a new coalition majority, according to an official statement from the palace issued to the state news agency.

The Istiqlal ministers announced their resignations from the moderate Islamist-led government on 9 July, partly in protest at efforts to reform the country’s food and fuel subsidies bill.

Tensions within the ruling coalition have been growing, with the Istiqlal party complaining that its coalition partner, the Islamist Justice and Development party, was dominating the government’s decision-making.

The Istiqlal party is the second-largest party of the four groups that comprise the coalition government.

Following the king’s acceptance of the resignations, the government faces a choice. It can either hold new elections or find a new coalition party to secure the majority they need in the lower house in order to stay in power.

The government is under pressure to implement economic reforms to fulfil the requirements of a $6.2bn precautionary credit line from the Washington-headquartered IMF.