By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, June 21, 2012
A violent scuffle erupted in the parliament last Tuesday between two MPs from one of Morocco’s main opposition parties, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (SUPF). As the Committee for Productive Sectors discussed a bill related to the Chamber of Trade, Industry and Services, tempers flared among the SUPF MPs when their fellow member, Said Shbaatou, aligned himself with Islamist MPs by asking the committee members to pass the bill before June 25 and with no further delay.
Mr. Shbaatou’s decision drew angry responses. Mr. Idriss Chataibi, another SUPF MP, reacted immediately and insisted vehemently that the opposition needs more time to examine the proposed bill. According to the daily Al Massae, Mr. Chataibi shouted “If you are man enough, then try to pass this bill” in an attempt to intimidate his party mate. Incensed by the language, Mr. Shbaatou resorted to a fist fight to settle the matter. When an MP from the PJD, tried to stop the fight, he was punched in his face.
Sources close to the parliamentary committee ascribed the discord between the two MPs to their allegiance to two different candidates for the position of secretary general of the SUPF. While Mr. Shbaatou supports Mr. Habib Malki’s candidacy, Mr. Chtaibi is backing Mr. Lashgar. This internal dissonance among the SUPF is liable to cause a split within the socialist party and may even destabilize the opposition.