Washington- D.C. - Morocco’s Political party leaders’ shameless scheming to score Ministerial positions did little to allay the Moroccan public concerns that the incoming Party of Justice and Development (PJD) headed government will falter in tackling the socio-economic challenges facing ordinary Moroccans.
Washington- D.C. – Morocco’s Political party leaders’ shameless scheming to score Ministerial positions did little to allay the Moroccan public concerns that the incoming Party of Justice and Development (PJD) headed government will falter in tackling the socio-economic challenges facing ordinary Moroccans.
Likewise, news that a number of newly elected parliamentarians had used “Youth and Women Special Electoral lists” to secure parliamentary sits for family members reinforced the popular impression of Moroccan legislators as inapt and self-serving.
As Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane (PJD) intensifies his efforts to from a new government after his party won a majority of seats in the October 7 elections, the Moroccan public remains skeptical of a political and electoral systems that remain largely under the quasi- control of elements outside the political realm. The fact that more than half of the electorate have decided not to vote is of a particular concern.
Moroccans, by and large, support King Mohammed VI’s political reforms and view the Monarchy as the stabilizing factor keeping the country safe in an a region fraught with conflicts. Nonetheless, they elected the PJD in 2011 hoping to pick by ballot a government that would balance and counter the deep state’s overreaching role and power in running the Kingdom.
Yet, the old guard continues to control the political discourse by only allowing specific players to enter the electoral arena. Those “chosen” players, including the current PM Benkirane and some of his aids, are elements whom “the powers that be” feel can be controlled and manipulated as not to rock the status quo. This doctrine is eroding confidence in the voting process and the political discourse.
The 43 percent voter turnout in the 2016 elections is evidence that Moroccans did not feel that the parliamentary races were competitive. Many deemed going to the polls as a validation of a political order that has failed to produce economic prosperity, social mobility and legal justice for all Moroccans.
The electoral drama starring two major parties, the PJD and the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), passionately defending their agenda and fighting for votes failed to convince Moroccans to go out and vote. This projected bipolar electoral campaign did not set well with a skeptical constituency.
In fact, the lack of fundamental political diversity played a major role in discouraging voters from going to the polls. Despite their efforts to project different agendas, slogans and promises, the PJD, PAM and left wing parties all looked and sounded the same to voters.
The PJD came to power in 2011 with a promise to stand up to the old guard and implement real changes. Yet, PM Benkirane reign as head of government did not bring much change to the people of Morocco. His populist and sometimes simplistic approach to governance has been widely criticized as ineffective and theatrical.
The departing government’s poor performance especially in refining the public education system, improving the public health services and reforming the judiciary has created a sense of apathy that the Moroccan public visibly displayed during the 2016 elections.
Furthermore, The PJD disappointing performance in administrating key ministries and a lack of true parliamentary opposition pushed the Moroccans into a political isolation. Feeling unrepresented, many voters have sense of disenfranchisement that fueled apathy leading to a low voter turnout.
For the sake of common good, Moroccans seemed resolved to accept a social order that keeps peace and law and order at the expense of a true pluralistic system. However, after 5 years of Benkirane rule that benefited a ruling class that now includes PJD leadership, the public at large has given up on the political process. Moroccans understand the significance of non-voting as a sign of disengagement and as a conviction that voting for either the PJD or the PAM will do little to alter public policy.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.