By Brahim El Guabli
By Brahim El Guabli
Morocco World News
Philadelphia, February 24, 2012
The victory of PJD in the elections of November 25th by winning a quarter of the seats in the Moroccan parliament, and the appointment of its secretary general as prime minister is not in itself an achievement. The latter is facing a myriad of economic, social and political challenges that should not be lost sight of in the midst of the celebration of the electoral process leading to this victory.
The debate should focus on the availability of political circumstances, subjective and objective, that will help the “New Comer” to rule and exercise power in an atmosphere conducive to implementing the “political platform” on the basis of which the Moroccan electorate awarded it the 25% of the seats in parliament. “Building new Morocco … Morocco of freedom, dignity, development and justice” was the motto of the party during the campaign. If we may allow ourselves to paraphrase it, the new Morocco should be democratic, transparent, legally and socially just and a place where human dignity is respected.
The party’s diagnosis, according to its electoral platform, reached conclusion that “notwithstanding the availability of exceptional resources for the Government, it has failed to achieve the promised development and neglected the economic equilibrium, which cost Moroccan people huge sacrifices. This failure is the result of the nature the sharp imbalances in the approach adopted in public affairs management, an approach based on control, rent-seeking and corruption” and the party goes on to provide a new approach based on ” good governance at the political, economic, cultural, social and external levels’’ instituting a new culture “based on a true democracy, accountability, fair competition, transparency and integrity emanating from a renewable reading of our Islamic reference and multi-component Moroccan identity for an optimal use of the resources and opportunities”.
This important diagnosis of economic and social realities does not identify who caused these disasters. The treatment advocated by the party is not necessarily efficient and gives a feeling of déjà vu. The novelty in this platform is the affirmation of the Islamic dimension of the party’s political reference and this is not a matter of importance.
But how can PJD implement its programs in a hybrid coalition?
The prime minister-designate in a television interview emphasized that his party prefers to strike an alliance with the Democratic Kutla parties, namely the Independence, USFP and the PPS. The “nationalist bloc” was created by the Independence Party and the National Union of the Popular Forces(became USFP in 1970s) to voice their discontent with the measures the King, Hassan II, undertook to end the state of exception and write a new constitution granting him large powers.
The two parties also lamented that “because of the sad state that the country finds itself in after more than 14 years after independence, which is characterized by the absence of all democracy; it is because of the domination of privileged and feudal elements and the misery of the peasant and working masses; it is because of the seizure by capitalism and imperialism of the economy of the country, that the Istiqlal party and the UNFP have decided to create the Kutla Wataniyya”. The choice of this name was not fortuitous because of its historical significance and political connotation. It evokes “the National Action Bloc” that fought French colonialism in the thirties, which also may suggest that these two parties considered themselves at war with another form of political tyranny, according to John Damis.
The major common denominator between PJD and IP is their conservatism and their strong belief in the Arabo-Islamic identity of Morocco. The Party of Progress and Socialism, is supposedly a progressive socialist party whose ideology cannot be reconciled with the religious rhetoric of PJD. However, what matters for the party are coveted ministerial portfolios. Ideology is the last thing its leadership thinks about.
The Secretary General of the party stated that “whenever the party found itself in a situation where it has to choose between its interests as a party and the interests of the nation as a whole; the party has always chosen the interests of the latter” The national interest can justify anything, even if it is striking an alliance with a party whose ideology is in total opposition with that of a supposedly progressive modernist party.
This rush towards the PJD government is grounded in the Moroccan political thought. The survival of parties is contingent on their participation in government. Otherwise, political transhumants begin immediately to join the winners (those in government) and avoid the losers (opposition). This is in itself one of the manifestations of the political stalemate of these parties.
The Popular Movement is historically known as an administrative party. Despite its abovementioned common history with PJD, relying on it to rule is a very risky enterprise because of the prevalence of notables in its ranks. These latter are known for their privileged and very close relationship with the state representatives and they are not usually disciplined to the party instructions. The notables are what Lyautey called the “natural leaders” who play a primordial role in maintaining the political stability and to whom Remy Leveau dedicated his book “The Moroccan Farmer: the Protector of the Throne”. Lyautey wrote that “the natural leaders lead and the others obey”, and these natural leaders will be one of the biggest challenges that PJD will face for the next five years. They are the visible part of a very huge political iceberg that stands in the way of democracy.
In conclusion, we say that the PJD will form a social government. They initiate awareness campaigns against corruption and rent-seeking, they will call for the moralization of public life and might even start an employment policy for the university graduates. They might also open the Moroccan diplomacy more towards the East. However, the biggest challenge will be initiating the institutional reforms necessary to reach the safe shores of democracy. The other positive contribution of this government might be the crystallization of a Conservative Bloc, led by PJD/IP, especially if this alliance is deepened in the future, and a Progressive Bloc, lead by USFP. Morocco needs such a polarization badly to cleanse the political life from inefficient elements and political dinosaurs. That is where real reform begins.
*Brahim el Guabli is a professor and political analyst in the United States. Prior to relocating to the US, Brahim was involved in the Moroccan civil society for many years.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.