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Maintenance. The Moroccans are called to the polls, Wednesday, September 8, for legislative and local elections which will determine the fate of the Justice and Development Party (PJD, Islamist) in power for a decade.
In an interview with World Africa, Aboubakr Jamaï, founder of Weekly newspaper – forced to close in 2010 – became professor of international relations at the American University Institute of Aix-en-Provence, believes that the “ Moroccan diet “Insists on maintaining the electoral calendar for” display an image of democracy “. According to him, the new rule relating to the electoral quotient aims to “ further fragment the political field and dilute the influence of the PJD “.
What is at stake in these elections?
Aboubakr Jamaï This election comes after a series of events that tarnished the image, however superficial it may be, of the democratic dimension of the Moroccan regime, first of all the Pegasus scandal, but also the Mohamed Hajib cases. [militant islamiste germano-marocain de l’école tabligh condamné en 2010 au Maroc à dix ans de prison pour « terrorisme » et résidant aujourd’hui en Allemagne] and Ali Aarrass [emprisonné douze ans au Maroc également pour « terrorisme »] which underline the preponderance of the security dimension in the management of the public fact in Morocco.
Today, opponents such as Omar Radi, Maati Monjib, Soulaïmane and Hajar Raissouni are targeted, but also ordinary citizens who criticize the authoritarian character of the regime. Keeping the elections on time is important for Rabat, which wishes to display an image of democracy.
How is the Justice and Development Party doing?
I would be surprised if he scored the same as in 2011 and 2016. The compromises and disappointing results at the head of the government made the PJD lose the first and second circle of its electorate. He disappointed the youth, in particular the one who carried the demands of the “February 20 Movement” [version marocaine des « printemps arabes » de 2011]. The first of these demands was to establish a true parliamentary monarchy.
The king’s announcement of a constitutional change in March 2011 was an admission of failure of the political system. It was a speech of surrender. He recognized that he had too much power. However, constitutional reform did not take place. In my opinion, it was Abdelilah Benkirane who made the PJD operate this course, yet favorable to the demands of the demonstrators. He was guilty of having accepted a constitutional reform which was not one. The powers remained concentrated in the hands of the king, and the monarchy became a vengeful regime which no longer even seeks to put the forms.
In what socio-economic context are these elections being held?
If we observe Morocco from abroad, we can believe in a successful economic model: beautiful airports, new highways, Tanger Med, the TGV … But all these infrastructures are white elephants because they do not have the effect. training that they should have on the population. The poverty rate has not decreased, youth unemployment is getting worse. The events of October 2016 in the Rif [la mort d’un vendeur de poissons broyé par une benne à ordure avait déclenché un vaste mouvement de contestation sociale] forced to recognize the failure of the economic model. For me the “Morocco’s new development model” – defined by a special commission mandated by King Mohammed VI after the protest in 2016 – is to the “Hirak” of the Rif what the Constitution was to the “February 20 Movement”.
In 2011, the king himself had appointed a commission to establish the terms of the new Constitution. In 2017, it was the same process with the Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD). A motley group of personalities chaired by a former interior minister, Chakib Benmoussa, wrote a project for Morocco, without addressing the root of the problem: institutional failures.
An authoritarian system does not allow a market economy that holds water. There is necessarily corruption and oligopolistic, even monopolistic sectors. However, today, this project drawn up by the king becomes the frame of reference that political parties must follow. This is what the King explicitly recalled in his speech of August 20, 2021. It is proof that these elections are not democratic. Legislative acts are supposed to determine a governmental majority which defines a political and economic project. But we are told: “The project is already here! “
A new rule is required in this election: the electoral quotient. What will he change?
This new electoral quotient shows the obsession of the regime to want to oust the PJD. This method of calculation based on registrants and not on voters is a crazy concept which aims to further fragment the political field and to dilute the influence of the PJD. The more the political landscape is balkanized in Morocco, the more the regime can justify its role as arbiter and its authoritarianism.