By Daniela Castro
New York – The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) is the only political party in Morocco that could oust the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) from power, according to El País. The islamist party has held a majority in Moroccan Parliament for the past five years.
Ilyas El Omari was unanimously elected on Sunday as the new Secretary General of PAM, a “secular” and “center-left” party, founded in 2008 by Fouad Ali El Himma, adviser of King Mohammed VI.
While the Moroccan Left is going through its worst moments, PAM has become the largest opposition party in Morocco and is the fiercest adversary of the PJD – headed by Abdelilah Benkirane – reported El País.
In the parliamentary elections of November 2011, the PJD won a majority of the seats (107 out of the 395) in the Assembly of Representatives, while PAM won only 47.
In the municipal and regional elections on September 4, 2015, PAM was the big winner with 6,655 seats (21.12 percent of the votes), followed by The Istiqlal or Independence Party with 5,106 seats (16.22 percent), and the PJD, ranking in third place, with 5,021 seats (15.94 percent).
El Omari said to El País, “The Islamists only obtained 200,000 votes more than us. It is an achievable gap, we can win if we do a good campaign.” This means that in the upcoming parliamentary elections, both parties – PAM and the PJD – will compete to occupy the greatest number of seats to head up the next government.
PAM has strong backing from rural areas, while the PJD has a strong urban base.
El Omari, a businessman and politician, was the second ranking member of PAM and the the only candidate to run for Secretary General. He was elected during the third National Congress of the party, held in Bouznika from January 22 to January 24. He replaced Mustapha Bakkoury, who announced that he would not run for a second term, according to Al Huffington Post.
As Morocco World News reported last Monday, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI sent a message of congratulation to El Omari on his election as the new Secretary General.
“It’s certain, with regard to your human qualities, your competences, your sense of duty and your unswerving commitment to the sacred and constant values of the nation, you will spare no effort to consolidate the party’s position in the national political scene and promote the efficiency of its constitutional duties in supervising citizens.”