By Safa Othmani
By Safa Othmani
Tunis – As counting for the votes was progressing smoothly following a momentous day in Morocco’s journey towards democracy, Abdelilah Benkirane’s voice emerged in a historic speech, reverberating the following phrase: “Lies have short legs.”
Shortly after polling centers across Morocco brought down the curtains, reports have been released by several news outlets on the “deceitful” and low 43-percent-turnout marking the elections.
While a number of Moroccan nationals cast blank votes after expressing their distrust in national politics and stake-holders, others opted, willingly, for Benkirane’s Justice and Development Party (PJD), hoping deep inside that the next five-year-term would herald a new era of socio-economic prosperity.
The fact that Benkirane’s PJD has won 23 more parliament seats with a comfortable margin from its rival the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) is said to be the by-product of a booming electoral campaign that massed crowds to signal their go-ahead for the next five-year-term.
As much as Benkirane’s triumph enchanted PJD’s backers, it seemed to have equally disappointed rivals who hoped the current surge in Islamophobic campaigns across the globe would oust Benkirane once and for all.
“The man turned out to be an idol for Moroccans. No matter the turnout, he has won the majority of votes with a comfortable margin,” a Tunisian analyst told Morocco World News.
“Charisma is the x-factor. You either have it or you don’t. The more of a charismatic politician you are the more votes you garner. The day has come when charisma said its word,” he added.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, observers who spoke to Morocco World News said rivals have once again failed to put the wind out of Benkirane’s sail.
“It is high time we reckoned the fact that Islamism should not be equated with terrorism,” said an observer.
Talking to al-Jazeera, Mohamed Belayachi, 65, a lorry driver, also said: “I voted today on PJD because I believe in the work they have done and that they have shown enough effort and change. I don’t think that other parties may have better solutions.”
A standard-bearer of coexistence, moderate Islamism, and national harmony, PJD seems to have garnered the trust of North African regions as an alternative option to the conservative either/or political doctrine, a sort of an-in-between politics that would save the region from the nightmare of monolithism.
“The October 7 polls prove that maneuvers, cunning, deception, and lies have short legs. They just have short legs,” said Benkirane hours after the counting. “The Moroccan people is a great people, one that deserves to live in the heart of democracy. Morocco shall see better days and a brighter future soon,” he said.
Until Benkirane’s next government makeup translates speech into action and makes peoples’ dreams come true, Moroccans will remain on guard over any projected incongruities.