Moroccan king names four new ministers - statement

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RABAT (Reuters) - Morocco's king named four new ministers from political parties forming the ruling coalition, the royal palace said on Wednesday, replacing figures involved in public scandals or who had stepped down for personal reasons.

It was the second reshuffle in the Islamist-led government since 2011 elections following "Arab Spring"-style protests that prompted the North African kingdom to introduce limited reforms.

In 2013, King Mohammed named 19 new ministers after Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane reached a deal to form a new coalition. That weakened the premier's Justice and Development party (PJD), which won 107 seats in the 395-seat parliament.

Three of the new ministers will replace those in charge of parliamentary relations, higher education and vocational training who have resigned. The fourth will replace the sports minister sacked in January after heavy rain flooded a soccer stadium and disrupted a Club World Cup quarter final.

Two PJD members, Abdelaziz Omari and Jamila El Moussali, named ministers for relations with parliament and junior minister in charge of high education will replace El Habib Choubani and Somaia Benkhaldoun, the statement carried by the state news agency MAP said.

Choubani and Benkhaldoun had resigned after becoming the subject of local media speculation in recent months over their personal relationship.

Two other ministers from the Popular movement party (MP) Khalid Barjaoui and Driss Merroun will take the vocational training and urbanism ministries replacing Abdeladim El Guerrouj and Mohand Laenser.

The former delegate minister in charge of vocational training El Guerrouj had also resigned after local media and opposition parties accused him of spending public money on private purchases of expensive chocolates.

While the constitution gives the government more power, the king still retains ultimate authority. The king succeeded in calming 2011 pro-democracy protests, which coincided with the wider Arab uprisings, by combining constitutional reforms, harsh policing and public spending.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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