Yassine El Malki
Yassine El Malki
Morocco World News
Rabat, February 15, 2012
The 25 November elections acknowledged the domination of the PJD party of the moderate Islamists. The results were almost predictable, as they came against the backdrop of the “Arab spring” that has blown open some Arab countries and worse has cost immeasurable streams of blood.
According to the new constitution, in which most Moroccans voted in favor of, Mr. Benkirane was nominated as president of the government. His nomination was luckily not at Al Mishoir Asaiid-Rabat, following the common protocol and as it had been with Abbas Elfasi in 2007. But it occurred in a traditional tent in Midelt. The small city that had known a scandal of a PJD member.
The designation of Mr. Benkirane was promptly followed by the appointment of the powerful man in this kingdom, Mr. El Himma as the king’s chancellor after the nomination of Mr. Znagui for the same job. Surprisingly, the nomination of the two personalities was affirmed in one day, but El Himma asked the king to devote another day for his nomination since he believed the latter deserved its own status. The third destined chancellor was Mr. El Fihri, the ex-minister of foreign affairs.
The swift rhythm in appointing three chancellors in a short period of time has raised much discussion in the media and among political analysts. Indeed, there are two interpretations, I believe, behind these outstanding steps on the part of the king. The first reading lies behind the desire of the regime to create the shadow government before Benkirane’s. The second reading reveals the curtain on some of the personalities considered to be the “sons of Makhzen”. These people are able to undermine and exercise control over the Islamists’ government that the “Arab spring” has begot.
Following the first blow Mr. Benkirane received when he was nominated in Midelt and not in Rabat, there came the second blow when and in the course of the negotiations to form a new government, the king appointed several personalities as ambassadors of the state.
This initiative was considered by most political analysts and some members of the PJD as a transgression on the part of the king of Article 49 of the new constitution. Normally, the president of the government suggests the ambassadors for the king to appoint. By highlighting this, I do not intend to make fun of the manner of how or the circumstances of where Mr. Benkirane was nominated, but I would like to shed light on the political game in Morocco and who has seized control of it. I think the members of the PJD have somehow grasped the game.
In the course of the hard-five-weeks of negotiations between the parties who agreed to take part in the new government headed by the Islamists, the expectations of the Moroccan street revolved around aberrant decisions and new figures that would trace the Moroccan map differently. Arguably, the new government was launched to be a minor one under the tutorship of regime hawks, the real decision-makers in the state. More than this, the nomination of some minister-delegates was so they can perform their missions under the king’s supreme orders.
Many jumbled and cogent criticism was related to the skeleton of the new government, women’s representation inside this government, retaining some political figures (Akhnouch and Albaraka) or their coming back to the Moroccan political scene again (Laancer and Ben Abdellah), the ministers of sovereignty already there, the number of the ministerial portfolios, the promises of the new government, and most importantly, the expectations of the Moroccan people from this government.
The king’s finger prints on this government by appointing minister-delegates should not be forgotten. In fact, Mohammed Ladidi as a delegate at the ministry of justice, Charki Dariss as a delegate at the ministry of the interior, and Youssef Al Amrani as a delegate at the ministry of foreign affairs are the real executives inside their ministries. They were appointed to deal with highly sensitive and important affairs of the state. The fact that Youssef Alamrani was sent, directly after his nomination, to Spain to meet the elected president Mr. Rajoy demonstrates this. And after that, he was sent to represent the king in the ceremony of appointing the president of Guatemala. This raises a simple question: what is the position of Mr. Saaddine El Otmani?
I stand my point to assert, after stating these cogent examples, that the Moroccan political scene has become clear actually. The role of undermining and controlling the Islamists on the part of the king chancellors, the enemies of the Islamists yesterday, and the minister-delegates overtly unfold the absence of trust on the part of the king in the Islamists heading the new government. It is not categorically a question of the inability and the incapability of the Islamists ministers to manage the concerns of the state, or to deal with sensitive affairs. This absence of trust can deeply hinder the ambition and the willingness of the Islamists to stand by this kingdom, to fight corruption, and to solve the “tangled” problems. Otherwise, it would be possible for the earthquake of the “Arab spring” to come back again to blow Morocco.
I have a strong belief that Morocco is not a place of war, oppression, dictatorship, deprivation, and evil. We all devotedly love this fantastic realm. We do not want to witness a civil war where different tribes are involved: the Sahraoui in the south, the Riffi in the north, the Amazigh and Arab in the middle. In fact, it is hard to imagine a bloodshed and war in Morocco. The country that has been known for peace and security Moroccans are living, in contrast with what we witness in Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and other Arab countries.
Moroccan people expect concrete changes. They see in this new government the “hand of mercy” extended to them to save them from the social crisis they are experiencing. It’s true, we cannot expect miracles from the appointed government, and a silver bullet by which they are going to eradicate corruption deeply rooted in the Moroccan society. Nor will it invent a rocket booster for development. The Moroccan reality is lived by the “grass-root” people who are far away from the political game and how it is played, and naïve while believing in everything. These ordinary people hope to touch, to feel democracy in everyday life, and most fundamentally to live indignity. However the absence of self-criticism and self-judgment makes things worse.
I assertively confirm if the shadow government, “the regime‘hawks,” keeps on undermining and controlling the new government, we are going to behold once again the scenario of the late USFP government headed at that time by Mr. Abderrahman Youssfi. It is a play and we act the roles when our turn comes. The 1998 government rose from the will of the Moroccan people. It was mostly undermined and criticized by the PJD at that time for corruption. Now, it is the turn of the USFP, when the leftist party decided to be in the side of the opposition, to criticize the new government, which has also risen from the will of the people. The question I would like to raise at the end of this article is: Is the shadow government going to exercise control by orienting Benkirane’s team or is the continuous intimidation on the part of Benkirane to leave the “ship” as soon as he feels the interference of the shadow government strong enough to brake the hawks’ obstruction? Only time will tell.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti and Caryn Benisch
The views expressed in this article and the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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