By Siham Ali
By Siham Ali
Rabat, November 18, 2011
As Moroccans prepare to vote on November 25th, advocates are pushing for numerous changes: an overhaul of parliamentary elite and the introduction of younger members are among the top priorities.
Thirty-six per cent of the election hopefuls on the local lists are under the age of 45, according to the interior ministry. Three hundred ninety-five MPs will be elected to the Chamber of Representatives, with 305 drawn from local lists.
New candidates make up the outright majority of those standing, with only 12% running for re-election.
The way needs to be opened up for young people and those with higher education, according to Popular Movement Secretary-General Mohand Laenser.
Socialist Party (USFP) Secretary-General Abdelouahed Radi predicted a turnover of two-thirds of MPs, which is a much lower figure than in other countries, he said. Parliament should include new elected representatives, but also experienced MPs, and should cover a range of age groups, he added.
As for female candidates, only 57 women feature on the local lists, accounting for 3.75% of all candidates, compared with 3% four years ago. Sixty seats are reserved for women from the national list.
The parties are still focusing on the same old winning formulas, preferring to co-opt men who will achieve an electoral breakthrough for them, observed political analyst Najib Tadlaoui.
Women, he added, continue to suffer from the negative effects of the macho mentality, which will never change unless the political parties commit themselves wholeheartedly to promoting the role of women in politics.
Morocco will not be able to use positive discrimination forever to bring young people and women into parliament, Tadlaoui argued, saying that political practices must evolve to help the two categories on the basis of individual competence.
Roughly sixty candidates on the local lists have a higher degree, and 30% have secondary education.
According to Tadlaoui, this level of education will help improve parliamentary activities if MPs buckle down to their real tasks of legislating and holding the government to account.
“Parliament’s image in the eyes of the electorate needs to change,” he said, adding that the legislative body “needs a commitment from future MPs that they will stamp out the absenteeism which has had a particular impact on previous parliaments”.
“The political parties also need to check up on their MPs and encourage them to do their work well as representatives of the nation,” Tadlaoui concluded.
Photo by: AFP/ Philippe Desmazes