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Cablegate: Biography of Abbas El Fassi, Prime Minister Designate

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INFO RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3529
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 4784
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 5792
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 3094
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 1192

UNCLAS RABAT 001517

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TAGS: PINR PGOV MO
SUBJECT: BIOGRAPHY OF ABBAS EL FASSI, PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATE

1. Abass El Fassi was born on September 18, 1940 in Berkane, near
the Algerian border. His father was a local judge and his
father-in-law was Allal El Fassi, the founder of the Istiqlal Party
and the leader of the independence movement. Born to the party,
Abbas joined the Istiqlal youth scout movement. He studied law in
Morocco and later practiced as an attorney.

2. In 1961 he was elected President of the Moroccan Student General
Union (a student organization affiliated with the Istiqlal). In
1972, he became Secretary General of the Moroccan League for Human
Rights, but any such activity was sharply limited at the time. In
1974, he was elected to the 16-member National Executive Committee
of the Istiqlal. He was re-elected to the committee twice (1978 and
1982). In 1983-1984 he was a member of the Istiqlal delegation that
participated in the historic convention in Tunis of political
parties of the Maghreb. This helped to lay the groundwork for the
Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) and for Fassi's later diplomatic career.


3. From October 1977 to November 1981 he served as the Minister of
Housing. In September 1984, he was elected MP from Larache in
north-western Morocco. He served as Minister of Handicrafts and
Social Affairs from November 1981 to April 1985. He was the
Moroccan Ambassador to Tunisia and the Arab League from 1985 to
1990, and was the Moroccan representative to the Secretariat of the
Arab Maghreb Union from January 1990 to July 1990. He was
Ambassador to France from 1990 to 1994 and then returned to
political party work.

4. In February 1998, he was elected Secretary General of the
Istiqlal party, replacing M'hamed Boucetta. From September 2000 to
September 2002 he was nominated Minister of Employment, Professional
Training, Social Development and Solidarity.

5. After his election to Parliament in 2002, he was named Minister
of State (without portfolio); the number 2-ranking member of the
government. He carried out many diplomatic functions, some
involving the Western Sahara, and worked on international Islamic
affairs, including leading the Moroccan delegation to the OIC. He
has represented the King at foreign presidential inaugurations. He
accompanied Foreign Minister Benaissa to Washington in October 2007,
the most recent visit there.

6. He is married with four children: One daughter is a lawyer, one
son is a banker, and the other son was elected on the Istiqlal party
ticket to local government office.

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