By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, September 17, 2011
With Moroccan parliamentary elections drawing near, political parties rush to build coalitions. Experts, however, wonder whether the newly formed alliances are based on shared ideology or just an attempt to secure votes.
Five leftist parties last week announced that they would be working together. They are the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), the Party for Progress and Socialism (PPS), the Front of Democratic Forces (FFD), the Socialist Party and the Green Left Party.
According to Mohammed Grine, of the PPS, the left has no option but to unite because it has a role to play in the Morocco of tomorrow which it cannot fulfill if it is fragmented.
The parties issued a statement saying that it is necessary to work together today to form a homogeneous coalition from both intellectual and political points of view. They vowed to join hands to combat corruption and social issues, as well as seek further reforms.
Political analyst Sellami Najah, however, questioned the durability of the alliance, adding that the left has never been able to co-operate effectively, often due to self-interest trumping political values.
It is time to put an end to the alliances that have nothing to do with ideological standpoints and instead are based on vote share calculations which have been a characteristic of every election, he argued.
Two ruling parties, the National Rally of Independents (RNI) and the Popular Movement (MP), have also formed an alliance, reaching out to two opposition parties, the Constitutional Union (UC) and the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM).
RNI chairman and Finance Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said the aim of the union was to adopt a coordinated approach to help clarify the political situation. He called for creating homogeneous blocs based on shared convictions. Mezouar also emphasised the need to clarify the coalitions before the elections and not after, given that experience shows that post-electoral alliances can result in some tricky compromises.
For their part, the PPS on September 6th issued a statement roundly condemning what they called the ambiguous stance adopted by the RNI and the MP, which it claimed sometimes act like members of the government, and other times like members of a four-party coalition.
In response to this accusation, Communications Minister Khalid Naciri on September 7th said that the government majority was working among its five parties to maintain the government’s ethical charter and commitments.
According to campaigners from the ruling parties, the coalition has all but run its course. The ruling bloc consists of Istiqlal party, the USFP and the PPS in addition to the RNI and the MP. Prior to the 2007 elections, the parties signed a pact whereby they would either all be in government or all be in opposition. This time, despite meetings to renew that pledge, nothing has yet been decided.
The general vice-secretary, Lahcen Daoudi, has been clear that the public must not be misled. He says that the coalitions which have been announced are not real alliances, because they would need to present a common manifesto, which has yet to happen.
Among the public, many have expressed skepticism in the absence of real change.
“The current government is made up of several parties who don’t share very many common views.” student Latifa Benchikhi said. “People would really like to vote for a programme or an ideology knowing in advance what the possible and logical alliances would be.”