UPDATE 2-Morocco's king names PJD's Othmani as prime minister

Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:23pm GMT

* Appointment aims to break political deadlock

* Othmani viewed as a close ally of former PM

* PJD to host national council meeting Saturday (Adds details of dispute)

By Samia Errazzouki

RABAT, March 17 (Reuters) - Morocco's King Mohammed VI has named Saad Eddine El Othmani of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) as the country's new prime minister and asked him to form a government, a statement carried by MAP state news agency said on Friday.

The king announced on Wednesday he would replace Abdelilah Benkirane as prime minister with another member of the PJD in an effort to break a five-month post-election deadlock that left the North African state without a government.

Othmani was foreign minister from 2012-2013 and had most recently served as the head of the PJD's parliamentary group.

A psychiatrist by training and highly active on social media, Othmani is regarded as a close ally of Benkirane's. It is not clear what difference his appointment makes to the PJD's negotiating position on forming a government.

The PJD has led the government since 2011, when King Mohammed ceded some powers to ease "Arab Spring" protests.   Continued...

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