Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.19
(A typo has been corrected on the latest “Moroccan Elections for the Clueless” series – 7102 candidates include the 90 national ballot seats, hence a lower competitive ratio over 395 seats. I hope this was not too much of an inconvenience; thank you)
elections2011.gov.ma has finally uploaded all of the electoral map, and they are thanked for it. However, I would be eternally grateful to the Interior Ministry (Yes, GRATEFUL) if they’d care to allow some more friendly-user upload button on their otherwise very nice charts. I am trying to figure out a contact on their website (which as far as I can tell, is just as mysterious as the Ministry overseeing it) and ask them -very nicely- if it is not too much trouble to get the list per constituency, with the standard socio-demographic indicators: age bandwidth, gender, education, prior public service, etc.
So there we are: 7102 Candidates, 32 political parties (which I will try and list later on – and I can already confess I have never heard of some of these) all over 92 districts. There are a couple of V.I.P candidates that might clash over particularly competitive seats, as we shall see as well.
It is worth pointing out that contrary to what one might think, the most competitive seats -those with higher numbers of candidates- are not necessarily located in large urban areas. In fact, it is hardly the case: Fqih Bensalah (Tadla Azilal) district has 112 candidates (28 parties) competing for 4 seats. There is an equivalent number of seats in Rabat-Océan (Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer), and yet about only half of that number competes over these, and 17 parties only put up candidates in what is usually referred to as a “death district” . Casablanca-Anfa (Greater Casablanca) too shows a smaller number of candidates, and even though it remains higher than Rabat’s own candidates’ pool, it is well below Fqih Bensalah’s very attractive 4 seats. It does make sense, since rural districts historically yielded higher turnout, and politics down there do not obey to the constraints of modern politics.
There some interesting constituencies and candidates running for office next Friday. Among others, the quite attractive 23-years old Meryem Daâli, PAM figurehead candidate in My Rashid district (Casablanca). She is mostly likely to lose to more experienced and popular competitors, but PAM operatives have managed to pull off a media bluff that could well boost its appeal among young and women voters.
As per her own statements to the press, Mrs. Daâli is not some idealistic activist trying to prove herself worthy of public office, but rather because her mother broached her on the subject, and she didn’t mind signing up as a PAM-PAM girl (sorry for the pun, and I can assure the reader there is no misogynist intent behind it)
Pour quelles raisons participez-vous aux élections? Est-ce que votre mère, Farida Naïmi, est derrière votre choix ?
Ma participation aux élections intervient dans la conjoncture que vit le Maroc qui dicte à tous les segments de la société, en particulier les jeunes, de réagir collectivement en laissant de côté la protestation, en contribuant aux réformes politiques et en participant dans des institutions. Et sans rien vous cacher, ma mère, qui est conseillère parlementaire, m’a ouvert la voie vers cette participation sous les couleurs du Parti de l’ Authenticité et de la Modernité.
But families ties in Moroccan politics are not rare commodity. In fact it is hardly the case not to find some remote family connections between candidates and incumbent politicians, sometimes across party lines; I particularly like the PEDD ballot candidates, where it seems -but I am not sure- that two family members have been accredited to contest the same district: MM. Ahmed & Yahya Ouadoudi really do look like Father & Son, don’t they? In a different district, that’s the whole family contesting the election: There are three Bourkalen PAM candidates contesting for Tinghir district (Souss-Massa) and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that n°2 and n°3 and n°1’s offspring.
There are some well-known politicians running for office (yet again) or challenging others to it; Abdelouahed Radi, USFP grandee and Premier is running for a 7th time since 1963 -if he manages to pull this off, he is going to retain his seat for almost half a century. He is standing for the newly re-drawn Sidi Slimane district (Gherb Chrarda) against Ismail Alaoui, former PPS leader, and PJD candidate Abdelouahed Bennani (Princess Royal Lallal Salma’s uncle). Blood ties, it seems, are the best insurance in the business of Moroccan politics.
Some VIP ministers, businessmen and distinguished party leaders are also joining the race:
– Aziz Akhnennouch, Gaz distribution tycoon, Agriculture minister and RNI grandee, is the RNI candidate for Tiznit seat, a seat few parties are contesting (although 4 out 5 competing parties are nationwide)
– Yasmina Baddou, Health Minister and Representative for Casablanca (Anfa – Istiqlal) is standing for re-election, the same as Rep. Ouadi Benabdellah (Anfa – RNI) and Rep. Abdelbari Zemzami (Anfa – PRV)
– Driss Lachgar (Rabat) Ahmed Reda Chami (Fez) Karim Guellab (Casablanca) Abdelilah Benkirane (Salé) and Mohand Laenser (Boulemane) are but a few party heavyweights rushing for seats, some of them will not successfully carry. Head Of Government hopeful candidate PJD Sâadedine Othamni has changed for the third time his seat, this time standing for Mohammedia seat.
There are also some “Heirs to the Partisan seat” competing for seats, with Istiqlal and USFP: Ali Yazghi (n°2) and Aiman Aghmani (n°17) for USFP, and n°8 Abdelmjid Fassi (from our very own Kennedy family) to name but a recognizable few.