Kenitra - The 16 million Moroccans who have registered to vote are electing the 395-member Chamber of Representatives in 95 electoral districts, with the Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) eyeing the lead to form a new government amid huge debates over health, education, employment and security.
Kenitra – The 16 million Moroccans who have registered to vote are electing the 395-member Chamber of Representatives in 95 electoral districts, with the Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) eyeing the lead to form a new government amid huge debates over health, education, employment and security.
Friday’s legislative elections will define the political map for Morocco and mark a turning point in Moroccan democracy five years after adopting the new constitutional reforms following a national referendum which stripped the king of some of his political powers and strengthened the authority of the country’s prime minister, including the right to appoint government officials previously held by the king. The voting is under way and the initial turnouts from the polls are indicating to a less-than-expected rate of voting. Early this morning, a Moroccan Interior Ministry official announced that the national turnout was about 10 percent as of midday. Though, voters are expected to show up at voting posts in big numbers after Friday prayers and working hours.
“People have lost confidence in Moroccan politics and Moroccan politicians. This is why I didn’t register to vote. I don’t think I will do so in the future either unless serious changes are made” a youth told Morocco World News this morning in the city of Kenitra. “I don’t think the turnout will be high today. All of the Moroccan parties have been tested before and nothing has changed. All of them have failed to translate their promises during elections into real or true achievements once they step into parliament”, another woman said.
In a short interview with Morocco World News, Pr. Yahya El Yahyaoui said: ” I have no position on the elections. It is a right and a duty. This doesn’t mean that election boycott is something bad. People are free to choose not to vote. It is their right.” When asked how he would define the outcomes of these parliamentary elections, Pr. El Yahyaoui held to the idea that “the expectations are quite normal and usual” suggesting that “the Islamic Justice and Development Party will have a tiny advantage over PAM. No decisive victory, I mean. Say: few more seats. That is it. No absolute majority. This will make it impossible for the PJD to form a government and will force it to work with other parties to form a coalition government. May be with the PAM itself. Who knows?”
In this election, Moroccan voters are heading to polls to pick their representatives in the lower house of parliament from more-than-30-political-party- candidates entering the competition with high expectations that the main battle will be contested between the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party and their opponents leading the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party. The Istiqlal Party along with the major parties of Popular Movement, Party of Progress and Socialism, National Rally of Independents more recently have been receiving attention among younger sections of society and the middle class, whilst the party of Federation of Democratic Left are also projected to gain some seats in this election.
In a recent interview with BBC Arabic, the head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, has defended the accomplishments of his five-year term and prided himself and his party on running a clean campaign eyeing a new victory despite what the PJD and many observers proclaim a platitude of their components political oratories and the aggressive attacks its policies receive from many news outlets, social media platforms and activists blogs and also from local authorities. Today, Benkirane casted his vote in Moaadh Benjalaal Grade School in Rabat and said that his party “ran an “integrity-filled” campaign and await election results the next day.”
Meanwhile, Ilyas El-Omary, Secretary General of the Party of Authenticity and Modernity leading the parliamentary opposition and a close friend to Fouad Ali El-Himma -the life-long friend and royal advisor of King Mohammed VI, said in an interview with Associated Press on October, 2, 2016 that “according to our internal polls, we are expecting to lead the election results among the opposition parties” whilst he accused the Party of Justice and Development of “political and economic failures” , “recent sex scandals”, and “the responsibility for allowing the radicalization of Moroccan youth, especially in his northern region of Tangiers-Tetouan-Al-Hoceima.”
As the tension grows between the two figures leading the two major parties PJD and PAM competing in these elections, the Moroccan political activist and the Secretary General of the United Socialist Party, Pr. Nabila Mounib is expected to win few seats for its own three-party coalition FGD. She is a new face on the ballot today because of her academic political oratory and her defense of true constitutional reforms. On September 30th, Mounib told CNN the constitution of 2011 “didn’t go far enough to enshrine democratic values in Morocco”. She added: “It did not outline a clear separation of powers, it did not truly stipulate the characteristics of the parliamentary monarchy, and it did not link responsibility to accountability.”
Early this afternoon, Mohammed Amahrour; a professor of philosophy and a locally active member of the United Socialist Party in Kenitra told Morocco World News: “We have hope that Nabila Mounib, along with other members of the party, can make changes in parliament. We hope they will be able to effect real changes for the benefit Moroccan people. I think our main objective now is to empower the current trend of her political socialist discourse and gain confidence again in the Left movement in general.