By Loubna Flahh
By Loubna Flahh
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 24, 2013
The shift from supportive role in the government to dissent and contention will not be smooth for the Istiqlal Party for several reasons.
First, the withdrawal of Mr. Hamid Chabat, Secretary General of the Istiklal Party (IP), from the government does not enjoy unanimous backing from all the IP members. Second, the party has spent decades in office making political decisions and taking initiatives. But since the animosity between Mr. Hamid Chabat and Mr. Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of Government, moved from partisan dispute to become a personal vendetta, Chabat is unlikely to save any effort to oversee the government’s performance with mutiny. His positions will be certainly fortified by his alliance with one of the PJD fiercest foes, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP).
At this stage, it is not difficult to predict the rest of the plot since the strengthening of the opposition is likely to put the PJD–led government into a real trouble. The IP will certainly marshal its affiliated union, the General Union for Moroccan Workers (UGTM), along with its strategic ally, the USFP, to create a real state of paralysis every time the social dialogue hits the wall.
Meanwhile, the PJD is losing a large base of its supporters and its rallying force is incrementally eroded, needless to mention that the outcome of the IP internal quarrels will definitely determine the incisiveness of the opposition. If Chabat is maintained at the helm of the IP, then the PJD-led government needs to be well geared to receive unyielding criticism. But if the IP senior members and more particularly those belonging to Al Fassi camp attempt to dethrone Chabat form his position as the Party’s secretary general, the opposition may sound a smoother tone.
Nevertheless, we need to pinpoint that such bid will not go unnoticed and may engender a historic division within the IP ranks. A division that would be soon followed by a deep severance within the IP affiliated union, the UGTM, where Chabat enjoys a sweeping support. But the question that arises here is this: would the IP senior members run the risk of imploding one of Morocco’s oldest and strongest parties for the simple desire to sideline Chabat?
It is noteworthy that the UGTM members have been locked in a brooding silence since the formation of the coalition. Their discontent with Benkirane’s dysfunctional policies was constantly pacified. But now that the ban is lifted, will the UGTM hawks break their silence? They will probably get their arsenal of condemning statements, demonstrations and strikes ready.
Nevertheless, it would be wise to determine who is reaping the fruits of this seismic change in the Moroccan political landscape and who is paying its highest cost? All those opposed to the unprecedented rise of Political Islam in Morocco, including the leftist parties, the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) and their acolytes are enjoying the show as they watch their dreams come true effortlessly. On the other hand, the IP can come out victor of this situation unless it succumbs to internal divisions. Moroccans at large may also benefit from the IP transfer from the government to the opposition if the latter plays well the role of an honest monitor.
But Moroccans would freeze their hopes once again if the IP and the USFP remain engrossed in their vendetta instead of prompting the government to save the sinking ship. Ironically, the PJD is the biggest loser in this political turn over. The PJD is already squandering what is left of its credibility while engaging in bilateral negotiations with its former enemy, the National Rally for Independents (RNI).
It is not uncustomary for the Istiqlal Party to pull out from the government to defend its principles and its interest. Indeed, the IP served in the opposition in the 70’s and the 90’s and its steadfast positions earned Allal al Fassi’s party the esteem of the electorate. But today, the IP is divided between Chabat and the traditional aristocratic elite that has dominated the political decision for decades. Against all expectations, Chabat seems to walk undeterred towards his goal that looks more attainable than before especially with the rapprochement with the USFP and the promise to bring the Koutla back to life.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
©Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed