By Aziz Daouda
By Aziz Daouda
Morocco World News
Rabat, February 20, 2012
The judgment of the First Instance Court of Khouribga against an elected member of the Popular Movement party (Mouvement Poulaire), who was involved in “vote buying” in the last legislative elections, is in no way special. Such judgments have often been pronounced in Morocco.
What is new here is that it involves a person that is very close to a minister in office. The minister was certainly not involved directly, yet is tied indirectly as he was head of the list involved.
Considering that the members of the list are interdependent and that ‘vote buying’ benefits all members of the list, the picture changes. The minister in question has consequently benefited from this illegal help, which led him to become part of the government. It is obviously a matter of electoral fraud as was found by the courts. Electoral fraud designates all irregularities that may take place in an election. The pronounced sentence is evidence that fraud has taken place in this case.
The convicted person was given an eight months suspended sentence and a fine of 80,000 DH for electoral corruption, along with being banned from running for two legislative elections, which means ten years. This is a heavy sentence.
It might also prove heavy for the government of Abdelilah Benkirane. Elsewhere in democracies that respect human rights, this is called ‘ draw the consequences’. Despite the assumption that the minister in question had no knowledge of the actions of his running mate, the fact is that the election results of that district have lost not only their credibility, but their legitimacy as well.
Public opinion will probably pay close attention to how the government responds to this painful situation. The public will not hesitate to draw the conclusions; hence it is of vital importance for the government to act and act fast.
Edited by Benjamin Villanti and Jaouadi Maniani
Aziz Daouda served three times as the technical director of the Royal Moroccan Federation of Athletics. He was also the manager of numerous renowned Moroccan and foreign track and field world champions with whom he won several titles and world records, including Said Aouita, Hicham El Guerrouj, Nezha Bidouane, Jawad Gharib, Hasna Benhassi, Salah Hissou. He is a contributor to Morocco World News. He blogs at azizdaouda.blogspot.com.
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