Rabat - The Sahrawi population’s strong participation in legislative elections in the Southern Provinces of Morocco testifies to their commitment to the territorial integrity of the kingdom, according to Ahmed Lakhrif, a member of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS).
Rabat – The Sahrawi population’s strong participation in legislative elections in the Southern Provinces of Morocco testifies to their commitment to the territorial integrity of the kingdom, according to Ahmed Lakhrif, a member of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS).
Lakhrif made the comments to the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations, adding that disputed territory’s population’s participation in Morocco’s political process served as “irrefutable proof” of Sahrawis’ commitment to building strong national institutions under the Moroccan flag.
He recalled that “since their first participation in the 1977 elections – two years after the return of this region [to Morocco], the Sahrawi voters have continued to show their adherence to various elections by a massive participation rate.”
The Istiqlal Party politician – who held the position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs until 2008, when he received Spanish citizenship – predicted that next Friday’s elections would also see a high Sahrawi turnout because it is “a new stage for the Sahrawis to defend the democratic model of their country, Morocco.”
Lakhrif is native to Smara – the only major Western Saharan city not established by Spanish colonizers who ruled over the region until the 1970s.
He criticized the Polisario Front and its regional government, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic – which also claims jurisdiction in the provinces that will be voting in this week’s elections – for hosting undemocratic elections that cannot lead to the empowerment of legitimate representatives of the issues of concern to the electorate.
Before former Polisario Front leader Mohammed Abdelaziz’s death earlier this year, he served as President of the SADR for almost 40 years, which invited concern from international observers who questioned the legitimacy of the elections.
Lakhrif also promoted the kingdom’s 2007 autonomy plan, which would allow the Western Sahara to run its own regional government under Rabat.