Casablanca - The features of the new coalition government start to form as Mr. Benkirane made public the latest appointments among the liberals from the National Rally of Independents known as the RNI.
Casablanca – The features of the new coalition government start to form as Mr. Benkirane made public the latest appointments among the liberals from the National Rally of Independents known as the RNI.
The history of political coalitions is usually based on political compatibility. Parties standing on the same side of the political spectrum tend to form a strategic alliance in order to promote their own interests.
But let’s review the history of coalitions in Benkirane’s government. After its resounding victory in the 2011 elections and persuaded that Allal Al Fassi party has “kind of Islamist roots”, the PJD started courting the Istiqlal Party( IP) to give the government a reliable center of gravity. Unexpectedly, the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) was also solicited to fill the remaining gaps in the government. The ex communist party chose to put aside its leftist propensity to claim its share of the pie.
But the winds blew in a different direction scattering Mr. Benkirane’s dream of an amicable union with the IP. Mr. Benkirane was blamed for making one-sided decisions leaving the other coalition parties in the dark. The election of new secretary general at the helm of the IP did not make things smoother. Soon Mr. Hamid Chabat the IP new secretary general, gave the head of government an ultimatum before pulling out from the coalition, leaving the PJD is a state of confusion.
Unfortunately for the Islamists, the only winning card left in their hand was the RNI. Just for the record, prior to the 2011 elections Mr. Benkirane did not miss any opportunity to discharge his fiery rhetoric against the RNI secretary general, Mr. Salah Eddine Mezouar, accusing him of all flaws from corruption to conspiracy. Mezouar and the Independents seized this unexpected gift with a shrewd smirk on their face knowing that they can soon set the list of their own conditions.
Where does the RNI stand and what can the colorless party offer to the discontent and impatient masses?
The National Rally of Independents has often been considered as the king’s party, since its founder Ahmed Osmane was no one but late king Hassan II’s brother in law. It is assumed that this party was used to stem the tide of the unabashed leftists who were highly critical of the king. That said, the Independents have always showed the ability to secure a reasonable number of seats in the parliament. It is enough to say that they won 41 seats out of 325 in 2002, 39 seats in 2007 and 38 seats in the 2011 elections.
Nevertheless, it is not an easy task to delineate the ideological leaning of this colorless party, since the RNI remains blacklisted by many voters as a party defending the interests of the bourgeoisie. In fact, Mezouar party’s tends to defend economic liberalism with shallow interest in social issues. They are likely to toil for policies promoting a better business environment through more flexible policies and tax exemption. They may also support the IMF structural adjustments, which require Morocco to reduce the fiscal imbalances and to become more market-oriented often with a steep decrease in public spending.
Benkirane may have saved his sinking ship, but he may not be able to keep it afloat for a long time if the RNI insists on squeezing public spending, which means more unemployment, precarious infrastructures, a more deficient healthcare system. The other side of this equation would be more dissatisfaction on the side of voters, an opportunity which the opposition will not certainly overlook. If some readers may find this scenario too dramatic, there might be no shred of doubt that the opposition led by the Social Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and the Istiqlal Party ( IP) are already loading their weapons waiting for the first misstep.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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