Moroccan Elections: A new rise for Islamists?
|Monday, September 3,2007 19:56|
In 7th September 2007, Morocco will undergo the parliamentary legislative elections, where many different ideological political parties will compete. Electoral campaign started on Saturday 25th August to attract the Moroccan voters and to explain to them the political and economic programs in order to guarantee the major number of votes for nominees.
These are the second elections since King Muhammad the Sixth ascended the throne. These elections coincides with a new era where Morocco will apply self-autonomy in desert provinces, besides Morocco is surviving a security maximum alert recently in order to counter terrorism. Morocco is seeking the aid of social development experts in order to set the democratic foundations to combat corruption, thus it is a great gambit on elections.
These elections would be conducted under a unanimous consensus among all parties and the ministry of interior where 32 parties are participating and one party is boycotting elections which is Annahj democratic leftist party. Besides there is an outlawed group which is the Justice and Spiritualite groupe –one of the prominent Islamist groups is Morocco. There is also the outlawed the Democratic Berber Party.
Elections of the 7th September will be the first elections in Morocco to be attended by international observers who are to be sent under the sponsorship of the National Democratic institute affiliate to the American Democratic Party which will act as a mediator between the mission of the international observers and the Consultancy Council for Human Rights. It will observe the elections on the level of central constituencies for voting. The number of registered electorates is 16 million while the electoral constituencies are 95 with one national regulation specialized for women.
Public opinion surveys conducted recently in Morocco in Daba 2007 showed that the Moroccan Justice and Development party (an opposing Islamist party) is expected to win the majority of votes, thus it is the only expected winner in coming elections, although its general –secretary Dr. Saad El-Din Othmnai said that he expected that the party may win from 60-70 parliamentary seats. Undoubtedly, the party will witness a severe competition with other Islamist parties which are the "Al-Nahda wal Fadila" which dissented from Justice and Development party and "Al-Badil Al-Hadary Party headed by Mustapha Al-Mu"tasim who raised the slogan "barka" which means "enough" mimicking the same experience of the Egyptian Kefaya movement. This slogan calls for an end to all forms of corruption and all negative political practices. There is also another party which is Al-Ummah Party but it is still not licensed by the ministry of interior, but its member would participate as independents.
The real problem that stands in the face of Justice and Development Party who raised the slogan" All for the Just Morocco" lies in two points first: the similarity in the discourse of all parties with Islamic reference and the second is that the dissention of some members who move to other new Islamist parties.
There is a severe competition in several constituencies where Mustapha Al-Mu"tasim the general secretary of Al-Badil Al-Hadary Party will compete with the prominent member in Justice and Development Party Rashid Al-Mudawir in Al-Fidaa Constituency. In the constituency of ( Wagd Angad) the head of Al-Fadila party Muhammd Khalidi will compete with Abdul Aziz Aftani the prominent member in Justice and Development.
The most opposing parties for the elections in Morocco is Al-Nahj Democratic party which is a radical leftist party. His general secretary Abdullah Al-Harif in said in a press-release, " I do not expect any change since the current constitution does not change and does not allow parties to participate in rule where most of these parties look only to participate in government" he added that he believes that boycotting elections does not indicate political negativity.
Regarding Justice and Spiritualite Groupe (one of the major Islamist groups and it is not licensed so far)considers these elections as a political illusion and looks upon it as a political action that lacks the fundamental basics. It considers these elections as a wasting for public fund, besides it gives the opportunity to make parties involved. The group said that this turn of elections will start with pledges and will end with accusations. Omar Ahrashan the member in the general secretariat for the group said" electoral action is not a guarantee for reforming conditions and we should look for another approach that may induce change".