Morocco's king has ousted the designated prime minister in an effort to settle a five-month deadlock over forming a new government, a palace statement said late on Wednesday.
The statement said that King Mohammed VI had removed Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of the Party for Justice and Development (PJD) that won last year's parliamentary election, from his duties "in the absence of signs that suggest an imminent formation" of a government and due to "his concern about overcoming the current blockage" in political negotiations.
The statement said the king made the decision after pushing Benkirane to speed up efforts to form a coalition government.
Under Morocco's election law no party can win an outright majority in the 395-seat parliament, making coalition governments a necessity in a system where the king still holds ultimate power.
But the PJD's relations with a former coalition partner, the conservative Istiqlal party, soured over economic reforms, and talks over formation of a government with the centre-right National Rally of Independence (RNI) stalled.
Benkirane said that he accepted the king's decision.
"This is our king and he came to a decision under the framework of the constitution, which I've always expressed support of," he said.
The king is expected to name another member of the PJD to replace Benkirane.
The PJD won the election, but didn't garner enough of a majority to govern alone.
The confusion has threatened to damage Morocco's reputation in the region for political stability after years of upheaval in the Arab world.
This year's budget, which should have been approved by parliament by the end of 2016, cannot be passed until a government is in place.