Mohand Laenser, 76, has been serving as the secretary general of the Popular Movement (MP) party for 32 years. The MP party was founded in 1959.
Laenser announced his candidacy three days before the opening of the party’s 13th congress, held September 28-30 under the slogan “Movement for the Homeland.” The re-elected secretary general easily beat his rival, Mostapha Assalou, a member of the party’s political bureau, on the second day of the congress.
MP is the only political party which has not renewed its leadership for the last three decades, adhering to those who are described in the Moroccan political field as “eternal leaders.”
Speaking at the congress, Laenser expressed dissatisfaction with the political disputes between MP’s coalition partners in the government, “which lead to failure in the implementation of many projects and which citizens are paying for.”
“MP’s participation in the government does not prevent it from raising the attention of its allies to the urgency of some current issues,” Laenser added.
Laenser also criticized the slow pace of education reform and the implementation of rural development projects that have led to protests.
In its statement following Laenser’s new election, the MP party stressed the need to increase the political participation of women and youth as well as the margin of freedoms and cultural and linguistic rights.
The party also called for “practical solutions to achieve justice in the distribution of wealth; tackling unemployment; and improving health, education, university and vocational training to regain the citizen’s confidence in institutions and political parties.”
Shouts of ‘Leave! Leave!’
While Laenser was delivering his speech on the sidelines of the party’s 13th congress in the Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, some members of the MP party shouted “Leave! Leave!”
The opposing members called for Laenser’s departure. Laenser became angry and did not accept their slogans. Some other members of the party intervened to calm the situation in order to continue the work of the conference.
Approximately 2,500 people attended the MP’s 13th congress, including many political and party leaders such as Saad Eddine El Othmani, head of government and head of the Justice and Development party; Aziz Akhannouch, minister of agriculture and head of the National Rally of Independents party; Nizar Baraka, head of the Independence Party; and Hakim Benchamach, head of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM).