Rabat - Any organized electoral fraud conducted by parties competing in Friday’s legislative elections will be punished with the full force of the law, according to Infrastructure and Transport Minister Aziz Rabbah.
Rabat – Any organized electoral fraud conducted by parties competing in Friday’s legislative elections will be punished with the full force of the law, according to Infrastructure and Transport Minister Aziz Rabbah.
“The 2009 elections are not the 2016 elections,” Rabbah, a high-ranking member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD), told Lakome2. “If what happened in 2009 occurs again, the party’s leadership will meet and decide what to do.”
Electoral fraud seven years ago caused the annulment of at least one election result nearly one month after voting day, as well as the arrest of several candidates for their involvement in the crime.
The Front of Democratic Forces (FFD) pointed out several voting irregularities in the Menara district to an administrative court, which caused Fatima Zahra Mansouri, the candidate representing the Authenticity and Modernity Party, to lose her position as the mayor of Marrakech.
Vote-buying appeared to be rampant in impoverished rural areas as well. A citizen who spoke to the Brookings Institution after the 2009 municipal elections said: “There was no violence, but generally the poor voted for cash. An individual gets an average of 200 dirhams ($25) for his or her vote. Those who bargain, or come again to see the candidate, can get more. Sometimes the candidate does not remember who he gave money to, so he can offer people the same amount twice.”
Rabbah said there are indications of voter intimidation and other irregularities in certain municipalities as the October 7th voting day approaches.
Some law enforcement officers have taken to convincing citizens not to vote for the PJD in Kenitra, the minister said. Other citizens in the same area have received anonymous calls telling them to cast their vote in Sidi Suleiman or in other towns far away from the city.
Rabbah served as the president of the Kenitra city council before being promoted to his current ministerial position.
The politician added that the existing electoral laws apply to him just as they apply to the rest of the parties’ hopefuls – not because of his status as a minister, but because he is a candidate for the PJD as well.
“It is a candidate’s right to demand that the law be enforced when he or she feels they have been sidestepped,” he said.