The 2007 Moroccan Parliamentary Elections Results and Implications
|Wednesday, October 3,2007 22:15|
|By Amr Hamzawy|
Morocco conducted elections to the lower chamber of the parliament, the House of Representatives, on September 7. Thirty-three political parties and thirteen independent electoral lists contested the chamber’s 325 seats. (Thirty seats are reserved for women based on a quota system introduced prior to the previous parliamentary elections, which were held in 2002.) Eighteen parties ran candidates in at least 50 percent of the country’s ninety-five electoral districts. Five parties were represented in almost every district: the two governing parties (the Socialist Union of Popular Forces and the Independence Party—Istiqlal), the main Islamist opposition party (the Party for Justice and Development—PJD), the Popular Movement, and the National Rally of Independents.
Voter Apathy and Popular Disenchantment
Local and international monitoring groups confirmed that the elections were conducted in a fair and transparent manner. However, there were a number of reports on violations that involved vote buying, in both urban and rural areas. Remarkably, voter turnout plunged to a historical low of 37 percent, down from 51 percent in the 2002 elections and 58 percent in 1997. Poor participation marred the process despite significant get-out-the-vote efforts by the government as well as political parties and civil society organizations. Government agencies and various nongovernmental organizations conducted voter education programs, especially in impoverished urban areas, and leading political parties announced detailed electoral platforms several weeks before the elections and publicized them heavily. Most platforms tackled the economic and social needs of the population, and, at least in the case of the Socialist Union, the Independence Party, and the PJD, concrete policy measures were included. Despite all these efforts, Moroccans’ waning level of interest in electoral politics persisted.
"this commentary is reprinted with permission from the Arab Reform Bulletin. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace."