Casablanca – Despite a busy schedule and constant concerns, Abdelilah Benkirane, the head of government doesn’t miss any activities of his Justice and Development Party. Whether it be a big event or a small one, and be it delivering a speech or addressing messages, there are three primary reasons that may explain why Benkirane is always present in the activities of his party:
1. Benkirane does not want to make the same mistake as his predecessor Abderrahmane El Youssoufi, who had neglected the party when he was head of government. Indeed, he always promoted the breakdown of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces in the five years when the socialists led the failed initiative for democratic change.
But Benkirane knows that his strength comes from his power in being at the head of the largest Moroccan party. He is also fully aware that within the party, there are more and more people who don’t share his views about government action. And if he allows them to spread their ideas within the Party, there would be a negative impact on the general attitude of the party, which has already been drawn by Benkirane and Baha in their closed offices.
The head of government is well aware that there is no plan or methodology for large reform of the State, nor is there a course of action to finally put Morocco on the rails of real democracy. All he can do is sprinkle in a few ingredients here and there to draw lines he tries to follow each day. First on the agenda is to gain a little more confidence from the palace; second, to strengthen the party; and third, to gain more experience.
But will it help Morocco to join the club of democratic countries or will it be limiting to integrate the JPD in the game of participation? This is a game in which the rules never change, even if we change the players. To date, there is still no answer from the JPD. So, to not leave others to answer for him, Benkirane comes to the meetings of his party as often as possible. He talks and delivers his truth. He doesn’t practice the policy of the empty chair, and doesn’t leave anyone to answer something that he wants to answer himself.
2. Benkirane is still in power because he is about to fight the great electoral battles that are coming in 2015 and 2016. Last Saturday, he claimed that he aspires to win the election: the local elections first, then the legislative. He says that winning is possible and that he doesn’t fear the opposition. According to him, the opposition is already burned and exhausted, and cannot stand in front of him and his reforms.
The head of government knows very well that despite his position, he will not hand over the elections and cannot organize 100% free elections. He knows that some his governmental allies are in power only thanks to the ballot boxes tampering. He is also aware that the political balance has its rules, which ignore those of integrity and transparency.
So, he thinks that what he will lose in terms of organization, he will gain it in terms of mobilizing and in being ever-present on the ground. It is, therefore, expected that this energy will crescendo in the coming months and multiply the attacks against Chabat, Lachgar and the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM). Benkirane seems to say to the state, “Don’t trust the PAM It is wobbly, and in 2011, the party had already disappeared from the political scene with the young people…”
3. The constant and strong presence of Benkirane within his party also reflects his desire to seek a second term as a head of the government. He wants to collect himself what he sowed in his first mandate. This is legitimate and understandable. Indeed, all heads of state in the world know that the time for reform is not the time for politics, but they always aspire to re-enlist.
But Abdelilah Benkirane has a problem: he cannot run for a third term as the Secretary General of the JPD. He must hand over the reigns in 2016, the year of legislative elections, or change the party’s constitution. However, it doesn’t seem like that he wants to do this. This leaves him the option of programming the JPD Congress as late as possible in 2016; that is to say, after the legislative elections, he will try to win and return to his current position. And if he succeeds, he will organize the Congress of his party and give way to his successor, but only after he is properly secured in power.
This is how we should understand the constant presence of Benkirane within the JPD–in its organs and structures–proving that he is the only absolute and undisputed leader. We shall see whether or not this will benefit the JPD.
Translated by Nahla Landolsi. Edited by Katrina Bushko
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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