Morocco's main opposition party elects new head

2018-05-28 10:16
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Morocco's main opposition party has elected a key political figure as its new secretary general, the party said on Sunday.

Hakim Benchamach, 55, was nominated on Saturday night during a special session of the Party of Authenticity and Modernity's national council in the city of Sale, near Rabat.

He succeeds Ilyas El Omari, a former far-left activist who has led PAM since 2016.

PAM was founded in 2008 by Fouad Ali El Himma, a close adviser to the king of Morocco.

The new PAM head, who is seen as close to Omari, has since 2015 chaired Morocco's second chamber of parliament - making him the country's fourth most important political figure.

Like his predecessor, Benchamach - a native of the country's northern Rif area and a former leftist activist - will serve as a "modernist" bulwark against the ruling Islamist Justice and Development (PJD) party.

In October 2017 parliamentary polls, PAM came in second behind PJD, before losing some of its political influence to the National Rally of Independents - another liberal party favoured by the palace.

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