By Farid El Korchi
By Farid El Korchi
Morocco World News
Rabat, November 20, 2011
With the looming legislative elections in Morocco (scheduled for November 25th), many questions impose themselves on analysts and common people in the streets.
Questions like, which candidates will sit atop the polls, among the 31 racing political parties? How transparent will the electoral process be? How far will the 20 February movement’s call for boycott (along with some leftist parties) affect Morocco’s voter turnout? And most importantly: Will the coming elections represent a new democratic beginning or is it just a mere cosmetic change?
Before hailing (or hating) the possible rise of the PJD, praising the possible demise of some other parties or denouncing/acclaiming the call for boycott, one has to examine the making of the democratic process itself.
Democracy in Morocco is an ongoing process and not simply something that has been recently triggered. According to a professor of political science, who preferred to speak on the condition of anonymity, “We do not launch democracy, we don’t abruptly create it, we rather build it, and that is exactly what is happening in Morocco right now”.
Three political formations, namely Annahj Addimocrati (The democratic way), Attalia (Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party) and Al Hizb Al Ichtiraki Al Mouahad (United Socialist Party) published, recently, a press-release explaining their decision of boycotting legislative elections. One of their main arguments is that legislative elections are doomed to failure.
Are legislative elections really doomed to failure?
Apparently this call for boycott will be met with a deaf ear by wide spread segments of people, mainly the youth. For the young generation, there is definitely no difference between the three representatives of the aforementioned parties and the other political parties they got accustomed to seeing, in each legislative campaign, on almost all Moroccan national screens.
A quick tour in the old streets of lmdina (old city) in Rabat dispelled the myth that the destiny of Moroccan elections is predetermined and that the “State” will always have the last word. Here are feedbacks to questions asked at random to some Moroccans who were busy doing their chopping in Lmdina.
What is your impression about the electoral campaign and the eventual voting behavior?
Mouad, 30 years old, accountant: “I am pretty sure that a fundamental political change is going on in Morocco right now. I think that the recent political changes that have been taking place in Morocco will drive political parties to think twice before doing any wrong move. The King’s speech on the 9th of March was very clear on that. I and my family members will go to vote on the 25th of November because I believe that every citizen has the obligation to choose the person who really deserves to hold public office. Concerning the electoral campaign, I notice a shy start”; he added with a smile drawn on his face. He went on to say that Morocco is on the path of establishing democracy “slowly but surely”.
“People want change but they cannot stop in midway. It is now or never to cut off the old habits and practices of rigged elections and make things right”, said Samir, 25 years old, afro-hair style, student at Mohammed V University in Rabat.
Houda, a veiled nurse, 22 years old, resorted to her Islamic background to explain her choice as a citizen to vote on the 25th: “God does not change the destiny of people as long as people do not try to change themselves…I know that there had been some immoral practices in the past, but I still hold out hope that things, in light of the new constitution I voted for, will get better in the future.”
It is true that some Moroccan ‘entities’ are trying hard to paint rather a gloomy picture of the current political scene in Morocco. Yet, the current electoral process, with its ups and downs, is nothing but a brave attempt to implement the provisions of the new constitution, supported by more than 98% of Moroccan voters; that in itself is a huge leap forward in terms of democratic change.
In this sense, there is no room left for determinism; Moroccans will be active participants not passive receivers!
Farid El Korchi is a contributor to Morocco World News.
© Morocco World News