Morocco king cancels birthday party celebrations after marking 20 years on throne
Morocco's King Mohammed VI has ordered authorities to stop organising birthday celebrations weeks after he marked 20 years on the throne.
The Ministry of Royal Household announced the surprise move on Tuesday ahead of the monarch's birthday on August 21.
The ministry did not give a reason for the 55-year-old king's decision.
Last year, the king had organised a large party in the northern city of Mdiq in the presence of politicians, diplomats and military generals.
Mohammed VI celebrated two decades as king last month with a series of opulent banquets and a major speech.
Hundreds of dignitaries and senior officials attended the ceremony at the royal palace in the northern city of Tetouan.
In a speech, the king pledged a government reshuffle and an injection of "new blood" into political and administrative positions to help tackle the country's glaring inequalities.
he welcomed progress in infrastructure and freedoms in the country but said the efforts had not had "sufficient impact".
Morocco's unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent, but spikes up to 39 percent among those under 24, according to official figures.
Access to quality healthcare remains problematic in rural areas and education levels are low, with one in three Moroccans illiterate, official figures say.
As is tradition, the speech was followed by a royal pardoning, which this year was handed to thousands of prisoners, including some from the "Hirak" protest movement that rocked the country in 2016.