By Jamal Laoudi
By Jamal Laoudi
Morocco World News
Washington D.C, November 29, 2011
Looking at the makeup of governments and the parliaments of many countries, we find that many cabinet and parliament members are relatives or friends of the individual in charge. Furthermore, in countries where democracy is lacking, such individuals are directly appointed instead of elected and consequently enjoy a high degree of unaccountability and immunity from any sort of prosecution. It could be argued that an index for democracy is to look at the number of individuals in the government and the parliament with direct links to the leadership.
Recently, parliamentary elections were held in Morocco. The outcome was consistent with expectations and many polls’ predictions. The incumbent party Istiqlal lost the majority to the Parti de la Justice et du développement (PJD). Abdelwahed Bennani, the uncle of the first lady of Morocco, ran as a PJD candidate in the region of Ben Sliman and lost. Not only that, but two other relatives of the king ran and lost, as reported Moroccan newspaper Almassa.
Indeed, Hassan Ahemzoun, the King’s uncle, ran as a candidate of Rassemblement National des Indépendants (National Rally for Independents) in Khenifra and lost. His younger brother Jamal Ahemzoun, who ran as a Parti authenticité et modernité candidate, also lost and could not retain his seat in parliament.
Under some regimes, it is unconceivable for a close relative of the president, the king, or the emir to lose. Every effort would have been made to ensure success. If not legally then by the necessary means, assuming they were not already appointed.
One cannot deny the democratic progress made in Morocco. Is it enough? That is a different question. In the past 12 years, we have witnessed Morocco take three different forms:
Pre-1999 Morocco: the late King Hassan II reigned. “Whatever I say goes,” is how he is usually remembered.
Pre-Arab Spring Morocco: This period saw the new King Mohamed VI, the son of Hassan II, in power. He is seen as much closer to his people and reputed for being humble, simple, and hard working. Furthermore, since he came to the throne, the government under his leadership has focused on ways to improve the country economically and socially among other things. There is no denying that progress was made, but it has been perceived as painfully slow and even insufficient to some.
Arab Spring Morocco: One of the Arab Spring’s most notable outcomes is the emboldened Arab citizen. Fear is now much less inhibiting. Consequently revolts, uprisings and scenes of violence are crowding screen TVs especially in the Middle East and North Africa. While it is not clear what is to continue, some regimes have fallen. In Tunisia former president Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, in Libya, the King of kings and presidents of Africa, Colonel Qaddafi was captured and assassinated on the spot, and in Egypt Hosni Mubarak was toppled and is standing trial now.
As for Morocco, it saw the birth of the February 20th movement, which managed to get itself known as the Moroccan version of the Arab Spring. So far, the movement does not enjoy wide popular support, a credit to Mohammed VI and his ruling methods, which gained him much popularity and support among the average Moroccan citizen.
The question then remains, what would the post-Arab Spring Morocco look like? The February 20th movement is still taking to the streets in protests showing that the country is not quite out of the woods yet. The quicker the government introduces more reforms and translates promises into reality on the ground, the quicker the Arab Spring is left behind. There is no going back. There will be a new Morocco either way.
Jamal Laoudi is a Moroccan national. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science and a Bachelor’s of Art in Economics. He is employed with the Adelphi Research Laboratory and serves as an independent consultant in Computational Linguistics. He contributes to various news and community portals including Aljazeeratalk.net, Moroccoworldnews.com, and wafin.com.
Editing by Benjamin Villanti
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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