(Rabat) The Islamist party PJD, which headed the Moroccan government for a decade, suffered a spectacular defeat in the Maghreb Kingdom’s parliamentary elections on Wednesday in favor of liberal parties close to the Royal Palace.
Posted on Sep 8, 2021 at 4:46 pm Updated at 11:34 pm
Kaouthar OUDRHIRI and Philippe AGRET Agence France-Presse
The Justice and Development Party (PJD, moderate Islamist) is collapsing, dropping from 125 seats in the outgoing assembly to 12, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit said during a press conference.
It lags far behind its main rivals, the National Rally of Independents (RNI), the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), both of which tend to be liberal, and the Istiqlal Party (center right) with 97, 82 and 78 (out of 395). Deputy).
The RNI, which is part of the ruling coalition, is headed by a wealthy businessman, Aziz Akhannouch, who is described as being close to the palace.
And the main opposition party, PAM, was founded in 2008 by current royal adviser Fouad Ali El Himma before stepping down in 2011.
The oldest party in Morocco, the center-right Istiqlal (Independence), is celebrating a remarkable comeback with an increase of 32 seats.
The extent of the Islamists’ defeat is unexpected in that, despite the lack of polls, the media and analysts assumed that the PJD would still take first place.
Long confined to the opposition, the PJD hoped to run for a third consecutive term as head of government.
Participation on the rise
It is sent to King Mohammed VI. are to appoint a head of government from the party that won the parliamentary elections to be responsible for the formation of an executive for a five-year term. He succeeds the General Secretary of the PJD, Saad-Eddine El Othmani.
The final results should be known on Thursday.
The participation rate reached 50.35% nationwide, according to the latest figure from the interior minister.
It was capped at 43% in the last parliamentary elections in 2016 and to 53% in the last local elections in 2015.
But for the first time around 18 million voters elected their 395 MPs on the same day as their local and regional representatives. Which reduced the abstention.
Turnout was high in the southern regions, which comprise the Moroccan-controlled part of the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
In 2011, Morocco passed a new constitution that gives parliament and government extensive prerogatives.
However, decisions and orientations in key sectors continue to come from the initiatives of King Mohammed VI. the end.
The Islamists had previously reported “serious irregularities”, including “obscene money distribution” near polling stations and “confusion” on some electoral lists because citizens could not find their names there.
The votes took place “under normal circumstances”, assured Mr. Laftit, with the exception of “individual cases”.
“Admission of Failure”
The end of the short election campaign, marked by the absence of major political meetings due to COVID-19, had already been poisoned by allegations of vote buying.
The PJD has also opposed the RNI with a lively controversy in recent days.
The former head of government and former general secretary of the PJD Abdelilah Benkirane shot red bullets at the head of the RNI, Aziz Akhannouch, because he believed that “a politician of integrity” was necessary for the government presidency.
Since 2007, Agriculture Minister Akhannouch has replied that the criticism of the Islamists was “an admission of failure” and “should only sow dissension”.
The minister, at the head of one of the country’s greatest assets, already played a key role in the previous government and controlled important departments such as economy and finance or industry.
For the first time since the first elections in Morocco in 1960, the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives was calculated based on the number of registered voters and not on the number of voters.
This new calculation method should favor small parties at the expense of large parties. But only the PJD had spoken out against it, since it already regarded itself as “wrong”.
The election competition was characterized by the lack of a clearly defined polarization of political decisions.
After the vote, the political parties will be asked to “form a pact” resulting from a “new development model” that anticipates “a new generation of reforms and projects”, as Mohammed VI recently promised.