Rabat - Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane visited Taroudant on Sunday for a speech on his party’s economic and social policies ahead of legislative elections on October 7th.
Rabat – Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane visited Taroudant on Sunday for a speech on his party’s economic and social policies ahead of legislative elections on October 7th.
Benkirane was overcome with emotion at several points during the event, prompting his supporters to chant “The people want a second term!” as he wiped his tears. An estimated 16 million Moroccans have registered to vote in the elections at the end of this week, according to Al-Jazeera.
“In 2015, I went to Agadir and Tiznit and I didn’t come to you all,” he told the sizeable crowd he faced. “This time I said, Taroudant will get what Taroudant deserves [in terms of political attention.”
The Head of Government stressed Morocco’s need to cling to its religious roots as it modernizes.
“We have to stay a people of religion and walk hand in hand until we reach the outcomes that we want,” Benkirane said, reflecting on the Islamist nature of his Justice and Development Party (PJD).
The party leader noted the economic plight of young Moroccans – especially young Moroccan women – who suffer disproportionately from the country’s chronically high unemployment rate. Earlier this year, general unemployment hit 10 percent, but World Bank data from 2014 put youth unemployment (ages 15-24) at just over 20 percent.
“The Moroccan people want justice,” the party leader said. “They want enough opportunities for the young population, so that they can achieve what they deserve.”
Benkirane said he would continue efforts to increase wages nationwide in the public and private sector, noting his administration’s success in raising student stipends by MAD 200.
He lauded the International Monetary Fund as a “foundational partner” for Morocco’s development and dismissed criticisms of the organization from his political rivals. The kingdom received a $5 billion line of credit from the IMF in 2014 – described as primarily “precautionary” on the fund’s website.
“Morocco cares about its poor people, and cares about its citizens in need and about their happiness,” he said. “I haven’t solved all of the country’s problems, but the people have seen for the past five years a Head of Government not solely concerned about being re-elected, but actually solving the problems.”
He accused the opposition parties of lying, buying social media activity and newspaper articles, and accepting bribes.
“Do not fear from those who tell you that we will not for an alliance with Abdelilah Benkirane,” the PJD leader said. “Just give me your votes and I will solve their problem on my own.”