Polling stations opened their doors to Moroccan voters today, Wednesday, to choose their candidates for the House of Representatives and the regional and municipal councils, in an election in which candidates from about 30 political parties are competing.
Those elections will determine the Moroccan government in the next five years.
What do we know about those elections?
The number of voters in Morocco is 17,983,490 (out of about 36 million Prime Time Zone), according to official data.
What are the main competing parties?
31 political parties participate in these elections, and for the first time in the history of Morocco, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) is heading the government coalition for a second term after winning the 2011 and 2016 elections.
— TRT عربي (@TRRTArabi) September 8, 2021
The Justice and Development Party, which won 125 out of 395 seats in the country’s recent parliamentary elections, chose the slogan “credibility, democracy and development” for its current electoral campaign, while declaring that its program “aims to establish the system of government and pursue related structural reforms.”
Saad Eddine El Othmani, the party’s Secretary-General who is also the head of government, stated that “the party has succeeded in reaping great successes in political participation, as it has restored confidence and integrity in political work.”
The current government includes 5 parties: “Justice and Development” (125 deputies in the House of Representatives, the first chamber of Parliament out of 395), the National Rally of Independents (37 deputies) led by Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch, the Popular Movement (27 deputies), the Socialist Union (20 deputies). The Constitutional Union (23 deputies).
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It also appears in the political scene as an electoral force opposing both the “Authenticity and Modernity” and “Istiqlal” parties.
The Authenticity and Modernity Party, the largest opposition party, is preparing to compete in the elections and aspires to lead.
The opposition includes the Authenticity and Modernity Parties (102 deputies), Al-Istiqlal (46 deputies), Progress and Socialism (12 deputies), in addition to the Left Federalist Party (two deputies).
The opposition parties are still searching for a foothold in the next government, so their statements regarding alliances are open to all possibilities.
Abdellatif Wahbi, Secretary-General of the Authenticity and Modernity Party, announced that his party has great chances of winning, stressing “the possibility of achieving this ambition through hard work and effective communication with the Moroccan Prime Time Zone.”
The Authenticity and Modernity Party came in second place in the 2016 legislative elections, after obtaining 102 seats in parliament.
In the run-up to the elections, the Istiqlal Party witnessed an unprecedented dynamism within the party’s ranks after the resignation of the former Secretary General, Hamid Shabat.
Some linked February’s resignation to internal disputes after its current Secretary-General, Nizar Baraka, rejected his predecessor’s recommendation to run for local elections in the Fez district. According to a report published by the British “BBC” website.
The party that joined the opposition in the middle of the previous government’s term (2011-2016) aspires to win a large number of votes.
Baraka said that Morocco needs a government that enjoys credibility and popular support thanks to the strong participation of citizens in the upcoming elections, while calling on Moroccans to go out and vote.
The National Rally of Independents, which represents the center-right and is part of the government coalition, revealed its willingness to participate in the legislative elections.
This party, which was established 42 years ago, seeks to lead the next government with the support of businessmen. The party is described as “close to the palace”.
Aziz Akhannouch, who seeks to fight the Islamists
Party leader Aziz Akhannouch said that “the National Rally of Independents presented ministers who achieved excellent results in all productive sectors.”
Akhannouch added that his party is focusing on projects that will enable the agricultural, commercial, industrial, tourism and fishery industries to achieve unprecedented prosperity.
The party came fourth in the 2016 legislative elections, with 37 seats.
How many parliamentary seats are the former parties competing for?
Moroccan parties participating in the elections are competing for 395 parliamentary seats.
How many competing lists?
The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior announced that 1,704 lists will compete in the upcoming elections, and include a total of 6,815 nominations, an average of more than 17 nominations for each seat. With regard to the election of municipal council members, the number of nominations submitted at the national level reached 157,569 nomination permits.
What is the pattern under which the elections are conducted?
Municipal council elections are conducted according to two patterns: the list system in districts with a population of more than 50,000 Prime Time Zone, and the least populated in which individual voting is applied.
And what about the woman?
The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior said that the nominations of women registered for the election of members of the House of Representatives amounted to a total of 2329 nominations, or 34.17 percent of the total number of nominations.
What is the impact of the Corona epidemic on the atmosphere of the elections?
The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior stressed the need for advertising gatherings to not exceed 25 Prime Time Zone, whether closed or open, and it also prevented the erection of tents and the organization of banquets, and decided not to exceed a maximum of 10 Prime Time Zone during field tours, and propaganda processions not to exceed 5 cars during electoral convoys, and Moroccan parties conduct their campaigns Elections without distributing leaflets, but advertising banners will be preserved.
Regarding party alliances, political analyst Rashid Lazraq told Anadolu Agency: “Unfortunately, it is difficult to talk about alliances between parties before the elections, which means that this matter is postponed until the results are announced.”
He added that the absence of alliances before the results were announced indicates the absence of strong programs for the participating parties.
Lazraq explains that the voting pattern in Morocco dictates the necessity of an alliance to form a government, as no party can win the formation of the government alone, as the country is keen on pluralism in managing public affairs.
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According to the Moroccan analyst, “according to Article 47 of the constitution, the next head of the Moroccan government will be determined.”
Article 47 stipulates that the king appoints the head of government from the political party that led the elections for members of the House of Representatives, and on the basis of its results, while appointing members of the government on the proposal of its president.
Lazraq considers that the parties running for first place in the elections “did not set red lines about their alliances.”
He believes that the parties nominated to win “will not go beyond 4, namely Justice and Development, in addition to the National Rally of Independents, Authenticity and Modernity, and Al-Istiqlal (opponents).”
Lazraq points out that the Authenticity and Modernity Party and the Justice and Development Party “were earlier raising the red paper in the face of each other, and the situation changed after their current leaders changed compared to 2016”.
Lazraq said that the leadership of the National Rally of Independents said that it was “open to all parties, but the first place will be the compass of the parties after the results appear.”
The National Council of the National Rally of Independents approved a decision to delegate the authority and the right to approve political and electoral alliances for party leader Aziz Akhannouch in the upcoming general and municipal elections.
Some parties, such as the Justice and Development Party, refer to their national councils (the party parliament) to decide on the decision of alliances after the election results are announced.
Morocco announced the accreditation of more than 4,500 observers representing 44 non-governmental organizations, to monitor the elections, according to the National Council for Human Rights.
These elections are the third of their kind since the issuance of the new Moroccan constitution, after the 2012 and 2016 elections.
It is also the fifth elections during the reign of Moroccan King Mohammed VI.
According to the electoral system in Morocco, no single party can win an absolute majority, which forces the winners to enter into negotiations to form coalition governments, limiting the political influence of the parties.
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All executive powers were in the hands of the king until 2011, when King Mohammed VI agreed to transform the country into a constitutional monarchy in the midst of the outbreak of demonstrations and protests in the region in what was known as the Arab Spring.
Although the king relinquished some of his powers as part of constitutional reforms, he remains the country’s most powerful figure who chooses the prime minister from the winning party.
The King heads the Judicial Council and the security apparatus, and some key positions, such as the Minister of the Interior, are held by technocrats appointed by the King.
Since winning the elections in 2011, the Justice and Development Party has led a broad coalition to lead the country, having emerged as the largest party in it.
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