Moroccan king names new prime minister to break deadlock

Morocco's king has named a new prime minister, former top diplomat Saadeddine Othmani, after ousting his predecessor after five months of government deadlock.

The royal palace said in a statement Friday that Othmani, a former foreign minister, has been given the responsibility of forming a new government. Othmani's Islamist party, the Party of Justice and Development, won an election in October but has failed to form a coalition government.

King Mohammed VI holds ultimate power in Morocco but rarely intervenes in politics, and his decision Wednesday to oust previous Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane came as a national surprise.

The lack of a government has threatened the Moroccan economy and its reputation for political stability in a volatile region.