Morocco just finished elections for its 10th parliament since independence in 1956. The Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD), the ruling party, won 125 seats. The PJD has been running a coalition government since 2011.
The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) came second with 102 seats. Coming third was the Independence Party with 46 seats and then the National Rally of Independent (RNI) with 37 seats.The results show continued strong support for the PJD despite criticism from opponents that the party had not achieved any tangible results since coming to power. Out-going PJD PM, Abdelilah Benkirane, said: "This is a day of joy and a victory for democracy. The Moroccan people have rewarded PJD for the work we did in our previous term."PAM spokesperson Khaled Adnoun said he was pleased with the outcome even though they expected to win more seats. He ruled out any cooperation with the PJD. Critics claim that the PAM is too close to the king.
There are 395 seats in the House of Representatives. The voting system is set up in such a way that no party can win a majority. The PJD will need to form a coalition again with other parties to form a government. The PJD may need to reach out to as many as three other parties to form a majority coalition. According to the constitution, the PM is selected from the party which received the most votes in the election. King Mohammed VI is likely to ask the PJD to form a new coalition government. This will be the first time that a party will have been able to rule for two consecutive terms. The king devolved some powers onto the parliament five years ago to relieve pressure for democratic change.Morocco is a constitutional monarchy and the power of the king is predominant. The king appoints the PM, can remove the PM from office, and can dissolve parliament.
The lack of power of the parliament and the inability of the government to solve some of the country's problems is perhaps responsible for the low turnout of just over 43 percent. The average overall in municipal, regional, and national polls has been roughly 50 percent. A senior bank officer told Al Jazeera: "We need employment, decent accommodation, a good health system and better education. Corruption in the country, which remains widespread in both the public and business spheres, has to end as well." However, many expect the new government to help alleviate the situation in healthcare and education. The unemployment situation is particularly severe with more than 20 percent of young people without a job
.In the past, the PJD leader, Benkirane has tried to reduce the deficit and reduce subsidies. The party has also campaigned against corruption. While there has been strong reaction against Islamist parties after the Arab Spring especially in countries such as Egypt, the PJD has survived and even flourished in Morocco. The PJD did well even though there were accusations that the royal establishment was unfairly backing PAM in the organization of the poll. Officials denied the accusation. Many organizations boycott the elections because the king retains a great deal of political power. This includes the main Islamist opposiition group Justice and Spirituality and several left-wing organizations.
Like this writer's work please donate:
Ken is a retired philosophy professor living in the boondocks of Manitoba, Canada, with his Filipina wife. He enjoys reading the news and writing articles. Politically Ken is on the far left of the political spectrum on many issues.