By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, November 11, 2011
Legislative campaigns will jump off in just a few hours in Morocco, but the issue of financing is causing some controversy.
With only a few days before the Moroccan parliamentary vote, candidates and political parties are preparing to spend cash on courting voters.
Election campaigning starts on Saturday (November 12th) and runs through November 24th, a day before the vote.
Political parties will receive a total of 220 million dirhams from the state. The government has increased the maximum amount that candidates can spend from 250,000 dirhams to 350,000 dirhams.
The new provisions also require candidates to draw up a document outlining details of their funding sources and a breakdown of the amount spent, accompanied by supporting evidence.
The state will contribute to parties’ funds in two instalments. The first tranche will be allocated according to the number of votes won by each party in all local constituencies and across the country, and the second instalment will be distributed according to the number of seats won by each party at national level. An additional amount will be paid to parties whose female candidates are successful in local constituencies.
Placing an upper limit on spending is a very important way of ensuring that all candidates have an equal chance of success, argued MP Abdellatif Ouammou, of the Party for Progress and Socialism (PPS).
“You can’t leave the door open to people who are able to squeeze other candidates out by spending huge amounts,” he told Magharebia. The permitted amount of expenditure is perfectly adequate to wage a clean and proper campaign, the parliamentarian added.
Despite the legal framework in place, experience has shown that it is difficult to detect infringements, according to political analyst Thami Chaoui.
Many candidates, he added, spend more than the permitted amount by buying votes and splashing out. Political parties choose candidates who have enough money to finance their own campaigns and win seats in elections, Chaoui said.
During the election period, a number of occasional jobs become available to unemployed youths. Young people get paid between 50 and 200 dirhams per day for distributing leaflets, doorstep campaigning and representing candidates at polling stations on election day.
Hicham M, an IT technician who has been out of work for two years, is one of them. From the first day of the election campaign, he will be at the beck-and-call of a candidate.
“I will be able to earn 150 dirhams per day for 12 days,” he said. “I’m not convinced by either the candidate or the party, but I need to work from time to time, and the elections are a good opportunity.”