Morocco’s Former Socialist Prime Minister Dies at 96
Moroccan former Prime Minister and socialist leader Abderrahmane el-Youssoufi died on Friday in Casablanca at the age of 96 following a prolonged illness.
Youssoufi was known for being the first opposition figure to peacefully join the authority when he led Morocco’s government of “consensual succession” between 1998 and 2002 during King Hassan II’s ruling.
First Secretary of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), Driss Lachgar, announced with great sorrow the death of Youssoufi to all federations and the general public.
For his part, Prime Minister Saad-Eddine el-Othmani described Youssoufi as a “political and national leader".
Othmani tweeted that he received the news of Youssoufi’s death with great sadness, offering his sincere condolences to his family and the whole nation.
Throughout his life, the late PM was greatly appreciated by the royal palace and the various Moroccan political circles.
Several politicians and activists paid tribute to the iconic man who had dedicated his life to defending Morocco’s working class and fighting for human rights.
Youssoufi was born in Tangier on March 8, 1924, and joined the national movement and became a member of the Independence Party at only the age of 19, as he fought for a free Morocco.
Between 1959 and 1965, Youssoufi was the editor-in-chief of the Attahrir newspaper, and served as Secretary-General of the USFP between 1995 and 2002.
In 2003, Youssoufi withdrew from politics after King Mohammed VI appointed technocrat Driss Jettou as prime minister, despite USFP winning the elections.
Youssoufi warned it was “contrary to the democratic methodology.”
Even after he retired from politics, Youssoufi remained in contact with King Mohammed VI, who kept inviting him to royal events and some official meetings with common friends or even the King’s family.
In March 2018, Youssoufi published his memoirs which details his political career, including the resistance and the country’s post-independence era.
The book features Youssoufi’s speeches and interviews and traces his long political life, his years of struggle in the national movements, including The National Union of Popular Forces (UNFP), and the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, in addition to his alternating participation and withdrawal from politics.
Last July, during the 20th anniversary of his coronation, King Mohammed VI honored Youssoufi by naming the 2019 cohort of graduating military recruits after him.
“I have decided to name this year’s Group of Graduates after Mr. Abderrahmane Youssoufi, who shares with my late father, His Majesty King Hassan II, and with me, the same unwavering principles: Love for the homeland and a strong commitment to the nation’s sacred values, to the Kingdom’s territorial integrity and the defense of its best interests,” announced King Mohammed VI.