Number 2 of the Lamp Party, respected by all, El Othmani was chosen to succeed Abdelilah Benkirane and become the new head of government. But, who is it really? The answer in five points.
Man of science and literature
In the Souss region of southern Morocco, it is customary to say that among the Othmani, an illustrious Amazigh family, science is a knowledge that has been transmitted for over a thousand years. Saâdeddine, born in 1956 in Inezgane, is no exception to the rule. In 1986, he obtained a doctorate in general medicine at the Hassan II University in Casablanca, and in 1994, a specialty degree in psychiatry. A man of science but also of letters, he also earned a bachelor’s degree in Muslim law and a magisterium in Islamic law. Since then, El Othmani is a recognized psychiatrist and prolific author. His credo? Psychiatry, of course, is mingled with Islamic references.
A member of the “clan of brothers”
El Othmani, along with Abdelilah Benkirane, Mustapha Ramid and the late Abdellah Baha, is part of the hard core of the PJD. In 2004, the party’s founder, Abdelkrim El Khatib, decided to pass the witness over to El Othmani, who became secretary-general of the party until 2008. He will use, in his own words, “sweetness and wisdom” To ridicule the overly moralistic trublions and to refine the new image of the party: integral, pragmatic and modernist. His example? The Turkish AKP or the CDU, the German Christian Democratic Party. Its tact allowed its political formation to negotiate the delicate political period that followed the attacks of Casablanca in 2003,
Man of Consensus
In the “conservatives” as in the “progressives”, El Othmani made a consensus. Unlike Abdelilah Benkirane, both a rival and a true comrade, Saâdeddine El Othmani turns the tongue seven times in his mouth before speaking, he is more diplomatic and round. But above all, a little more open. He was one of the few “Islamists” who spoke in favor of a change in legislation on abortion and cannabis, and was quite receptive to the recognition of the Amazigh identity (which is Also his). El Othmani is certainly not a star like Benkirane, but he is respected.
Thoughtful , but not smooth Its flash passage to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (from 2012 to 2013) demonstrated, El Othmani is thoughtful but not smooth. One might even say that he was bold, even unpredictable. One month after his appointment, he went to Algeria to meet Abdelaziz Bouteflika, which had not happened long ago. During a visit to Kuwait in 2013, he also did not hesitate to meet the opposition. What bristled the hair of the petromonarchies and, no doubt, of the Moroccan monarchy. He was finally thanked for the benefit of a technocrat (during the formation of the Benkirane II government after the departure of Istiqlal), and experienced it as a humiliation. Since his appointment, some of his tweets have surfaced: We know from now on that he is a fan of the humorist Dieudonné. Good …
In 2007, electoral year in Morocco, El Othmani (then SG of the party) aroused the interest of many chancelleries, especially Western. The PJD already had the wind in its sails. Reassuring, El Othmani was rather liberal economically and legalistically. Some already bet that it will adopt exactly the same political line as its predecessor, Benkirane. In any case, it will face the same challenges, including forming a government majority, but it is also opposed to an agreement with WFP and the USFP. On the other hand, unlike Benkirane, the new head of government is not really supported by the Movement Unity and Reform (MUR), the matrix of the PJD. Where will the first sting come from?