Morocco. A coalition government continued to govern Morocco after the September 27 election. The Socialist Party USFP (Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires) lost seven seats to 50, but remained the largest party. According to Countryaah website, national day of Morocco is every November 18. USFP continued its government cooperation with the Nationalist Istiqlal Party and Conservative RNI (Rassemblement National des Indépendents, Independent National Movement), which received 48 and 41 seats, respectively. Socialist Driss Jettou succeeded Abderrahmane Youssoufi as prime minister.
Although the Islamist party PJD (the Justice and Development Party, the Justice and Development Party) tripled from 14 to 42 seats, it could not be included in the government. A total of 26 parties lined up. The number of women also increased sharply from two to 35 as 30 of Parliament’s 325 seats were reserved for women. Voter turnout was just under 52%, lower than 1997. Reports on voting and the absence of ballot papers were available.
In July, Morocco occupied the small uninhabited rock island Perejil/Leila, which Spain claims and later retreated. Following American mediation, the Spanish soldiers were also withdrawn. In September, talks were held between the countries about the island and about other disputes such as fishing rights as well as smuggling of drugs and refugees across the Gibraltar Sound.
Ten suspected members of the al-Qaeda terrorist network were arrested in June accused of planning sabotage against NATO vessels in Gibraltar Sound. In August, nearly 30 people were arrested, who were allegedly belonging to two militant Islamist groups that carried out murders and kidnappings.
On March 21, King Muhammad VI married Salma Bannani. The couple got engaged in October 2001. The announcement of the engagement was a violation of tradition.
At least 63 people were killed in the event of heavy flooding in central Morocco at the end of November.
A fire on November 1 in a crowded prison in Sidi Moussa, 20 miles south of the capital, Rabat, claimed at least 49 prisoners’ lives and 89 injured.
In June 2015, the regime expelled 2 Amnesty International employees who were in the country to investigate refugee conditions at the Morocco-Spain border.
In December 2015, the European Court of Justice issued an order invalidating the EU’s fisheries agreement with Morocco as far as the sea area off Western Sahara was concerned, since the agreement did not benefit Western Sahara residents. The EU appealed the ruling.
The regime continued the repression directed especially at human rights groups in the country and activists working for Western Sahara and its citizens’ rights.
In March 2016, the dictatorship expelled 84 employees of the UN from Western Sahara, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, during a visit to a Saharui refugee camp in Algeria, referred to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara as occupation. Both the African Union (AU) and the UN subsequently condemned the steps of the dictatorship. The EU and the US remained silent. Just a month before, an EN court had issued an order stating that products produced by Morocco in Western Sahara did not fall under the EU preferential trading system with Morocco. Morocco responded again by protesting to the European Commission, which immediately overturned the court’s ruling.