Last week Mbarka Bouaida became the first woman to lead the region of Guelmin-Oued Noun, and now must find a solution the year-long suspension of the region’s council.
Rabat – Mbarka Bouaida, an experienced politician, was elected president of the southeast region Guelmim-Oued Noun Friday, July 5. The election makes Bouaida the first woman elected as a regional leader in the history of Morocco’s regional elections which began in 2015.
Bouaida’s party, the National Rally of Independents (RNI), described her election as “historic.”
She now faces the issue of settling long-standing disputes between the region’s RNI party and Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) party, but said she is aware of the challenges and is committed to “starting a new era” in the region.
Disagreements between the parties ultimately led to a suspension of the region’s council in May 2018. A special delegation has handled daily business since previous President Abderrahim Bouaida – Mbarka Bouaida’s cousin – resigned in June 2018.
Beyond handling the region’s current political crisis, Bouaida has expressed her desire to improve job opportunities as well as to provide additional support to the region’s young people.
Bouaida’s victory, in which she won 33 of the 39 total votes, didn’t come as a surprise considering her reputation for diplomacy and dedication to her region, according to the RNI party.
In 1975 in the small town Laqssabi, Bouaida was born into a well-known and respected family in the region. Her relatives are involved in business, media, and politics and Bouaida herself has followed suit.
Bouaida received her MBA from the University of Hull in England and gained her Master’s in Communication from the University of Toulouse, before jumping into her own political career.
She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2007. Since then, she has served as Vice-Chair of the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee (2008-2009) and chaired the Foreign Affairs, National Defense, and Islamic Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives in 2010.
Additionally, she has co-chaired the Morocco-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee since it formed in May 2010 and was minister delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Morocco’s previous government.
Bouaida, who was named “Young Global Leader” of the World Economic Forum 2012, also has international political ties. Outside of Morocco, Bouaida is affiliated with the EU and the UN and has been Vice-President of the International Parliamentary Forum for Democracy since 2011.
Following her election as regional president, she has 60 days to leave her current position as Secretary of State to the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, which she has held since 2017.
Bouaida expressed thanks for the council’s confidence in her new position and acknowledged the efforts of all parties to work together to solve the region’s issues moving forward.