Rabat - Will Nizar Baraka, member of the National Council of the Party of Istiqlal (PI), announce his candidacy to become the party’s next leader?
Rabat – Will Nizar Baraka, member of the National Council of the Party of Istiqlal (PI), announce his candidacy to become the party’s next leader?
The question comes to mind following the party’s National Council meeting on Saturday.
The announcement of a reconciliation between party leader, Hamid Chabat, and other opposing, influential members paves the way for the party’s National Congress to be held in May, where a new Secretary General of the party is due to be elected.
Chabat is expected to seek another term in office and Baraka has officially become eligible to run.
During the National Council’s meeting, article 54 of the party’s internal regulations was amended, allowing members of the party, outside the executive committee, to run for the party’s leadership.
The former finance minister and current president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE), has been leading a campaign against Hamid Chabat, saying the party needs a new leader.
Chabat came under huge criticism from party members when he made controversial statements about Mauritania in December, referring to it as part of Moroccan territories.
The Secretary General has also been criticized for failing to maintain Istiqlal’s political influence.
In 2011, Istiqlal came second in the General elections and was a major ally of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) in the subsequent government led by Abdelilah Benkirane.
When Chabat got elected as secretary general of the party in 2012, however, Istiqlal withdrew from the government the next year, a move seen by Baraka as damaging to the party.
Though he has not yet announced his candidacy, Nizar Baraka is expected to be Hamid Chabat’s next rival in the party’s National Congress.
His potential win would mark a turnover for Morocco’s oldest party.
Though not as charismatic as Chabat, Nizar Baraka will certainly be considerably less controversial. Does he have what it takes to beat the current leader? We can only wait and see.