Rabat – Leader of Justice and Development Party (PJD) and former head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, has once again addressed the issue of the party’s current status following the upheavals of recent months which have seen the PJD’s influence in Moroccan politics wane.‘In life, you can’t always win,” said Benkirane during a meeting with the PJD’s members abroad on Saturday. “Our rivals are not throwing up hands.” He added that “Democratically, we defeated them. But they had to try to beat us in away or another.”Benkirane was making a clear reference to the PJD’s victory in the general elections of October 2016 when the Islamists won 125 seats. Still, despite that unprecedented victory in the history of Moroccan elections, the party could not form the coalition it wanted. After months of unfruitful negotiations with other parties, Benkirane was dismissed by King Mohammed VI in Marchand the current Head of Government and President of the PJD’s national council, Saad Eddine El Othmani, was appointed in his place. The coalition formed by El Othmani, comprised of six parties, had previously been rejected by Benkirane.In addition to the disappointing outcome of the government coalition and the unpopular management of the crisis in the Rif region, internal divisions within the Islamist party grew.Despite criticism, however, the PJD still proclaims its “reformist” agenda. On Friday, during the national convention of Attajdid Atolabi, a student union with close ties with the PJD, El Othmani stated his government party will follow in the foot steps of Benkirane’s government (2011-2016) in pursuing reform. The same discourse was echoed by Benkirane on Saturday. The Islamist leader said the reason they are engaged in politics is to enforce reforms.“Did we achieve something or not? If we didn’t, why Moroccans voted for us?” he asked.Despite the fact that the PJD, and especially its leader, retain some popularity among Moroccans, many members of the party are worried that the increasingly unpopular PJD-led government will gradually make the party lose its previous achievements. read more

The National Police Commission has ordered a report from Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara over the manner in which the Police dealt with protesting university students last week.Secretary to the Commission Ariyadasa Cooray said that the IGP was asked to give a detailed report on the Police action which led to over 90 people, mostly students being injured. The students clashed with the Police last week during a protest near the Health Ministry on the SAITM issue. Some students forced their way into the Health Ministry and damaged public property. He was arrested after coming out from a press conference hosted by the IUSF in Colombo. Lahiru Weerasekara was produced before a Magistrate and remanded till July 5. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Convener of the Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF), Lahiru Weerasekara was arrested on Friday over the incident. read more