Moroccan King Mohammed ill and forced to miss Chirac funeral

Monarch advised to rest for several days to recover from lung infection

epa07747985 A handout photo made available by the Moroccan News Agency (MAP) showing HM King Mohammed VI, speaking in Tetouan, Morocco, 29 July 2019, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Sovereign's accession to the throne of Morocco.  EPA/MAP HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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Doctors have advised Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to rest for several days after a viral lung infection forced him to miss a funeral in Paris for France’s late president, Jacques Chirac.

The palace said in a rare statement on the health of King Mohammed, 56, who last year had heart surgery, that he had been unable to attend the commemoration for Chirac, who died last week aged 86.

The palace noted the “strong ties” between the Chirac family and the ruling dynasty in Morocco, a former French protectorate.

Chirac served as French president from 1995 to 2005. His funeral will take place on Monday and Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan will represent Morocco.

King Mohammed has led the Muslim world’s longest-serving dynasty since 1999 when his father Hassan II died of a heart attack.

As head of state, he represents the supreme authority in Morocco. He handed some powers to an elected government in reforms after the Arab uprising protests, but is able to sack ministers and did so after protests in the Rif region.

In July he urged the government to carry out a reshuffle of Cabinet posts and on September 21 he met Prime Minister Saad El Othmani of the ruling coalition's Justice and Development Party to discuss it.