Abdelilah Benkirane is a Moroccan politician who has been Prime Minister of Morocco since 2011. He is also leader of the Justice and Development Party. Having won a plurality of seats in the November 2011 parliamentary election, his party formed a coalition with three parties that had been part of previous governments, and he was appointed as Prime Minister on 29 November 2011.
During the 1970s, Benkirane was a leftist political activist. He has represented Salé in the Moroccan parliament since 14 November 1997. He was elected leader of the Justice and Development Party in July 2008, taking over from Saadeddine Othmani.
Benkirane's politics are democratic and Islamist. In a 2011 interview he said: "If I get into government, it won't be so I can tell young women how many centimeters of skirt they should wear to cover their legs. That's none of my business. It is not possible, in any case, for anyone to threaten the cause of civil liberties in Morocco". However, he has in the past described secularism as "a dangerous concept for Morocco", and in 2010 he campaigned, unsuccessfully, to ban a performance in Rabat by Elton John because it "promoted homosexuality".
His new government has targeted average economic growth of 5.5 percent a year during its four year mandate, and to reduce the jobless rate to 8 percent by the end of 2016 from 9.1 percent at the start of 2012. Benkirane's government has also actively pursued Morocco's ties with the European Union, its chief trade partner, as well as becoming increasingly engaged with the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council.
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