The Moorish Wanderer

Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.20

Posted in Flash News, Intikhabates-Elections, Morocco, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on November 25, 2011

Today is the big day! Moroccan will flock en masse (or perhaps, not) to polling stations and vote for 5,392 candidates on local ballot, whose own results will condition the outcome of another 1,710 candidates (Women and ‘Young’ Men) on national ballot – all in all, 395 seats are in-game, and behind it, a coalition ready to muster a 197+ seats strong caucus  as its supporting parliamentary majority.

Consume by: November 25th

The campaign has proven authorities are losing their grip on media regulations: the amount of videos uploaded and share on social networks and websites have exploded over the last week, fanpages, groups, leaflet scans have flooded the Moroccan internets about the same way paper versions pollute the streets and neighbourhoods of Moroccan cities and villages.

On the other side of the barrier, pro-Boycott Feb20 movement has found itself more or less reinvigorated once again with a clear goal; random arrests, and aggressions targeting Feb20 activists only strengthen their resolve in seeing through tomorrow’s polls with the lowest possible turnout.

Thanks to a sneaky law passed weeks before elections, no serious polling could have been carried out to take the nation’s voters into confidence, and figure out the broad trends – we had instead to content ourselves with ill-defined, mysterious polls prepared by Hudson Institute and Thomas More think-tanks, with no particular insight on method, or the sample’s representativeness relative to overall population.

The available pool of candidates has improved a bit with a majority of them holding college degrees; larger districts, like Casablanca, Tangiers, Rabat, Marrakesh and Agadir alone show an average 55% percentage of college-degree candidates, with figures as low as 49% in Tangiers or Marrakesh.

The next batch of representatives is most likely to have a higher education level: I am confident at most 23 seats will be filled with representatives lacking formal education (that’s a scenario whereby all 23 of them manage to carry enough votes on the ballot); They might not be as young as we would like them to be, but many of them will certainly bring a fresh perspective,  87% of them are running for the first time (or are not incumbents running again for office); on paper, at least, we shall certainly have a relatively renewed Legislative body; whether they can fulfill their assignment as the people’s representatives is a matter of debate: needless to say that parliamentary representatives are usually left by themselves when it comes to scrutinizing the Executive, due to a lack of coherent parliamentary leadership and a sheer lack of resources to carry on with their duties: committee hearings do not carry meaningful resolutions, they cannot impeach a civil servant or a minister; they do not even initiate a lot of bills. So a batch of fresh representatives could do wonders in shaking old parliamentary proceedings.

What about the pro-boycott side of the story? I’m not pro-boycott myself, but in the event I was there, I’d most probably go to the polling station, and slip a blank ballot. I like to think voting is a matter of principle (an individual decision that does not carry judgement over what others could do) and a statement about how I believe things could change; through the ballot – I deplore the legislation curtailing polls, I abhor the abusive interpretation of the law that results in brutal crack down on pro-boycott activists, but just as July 1st referendum results have proven, all-out boycott does not advance the cause.

So Today is a big day.

3 Responses

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  1. vankaas said, on November 25, 2011 at 01:00

    What I miss is the notion of the elections as a way to incorporate the Western Sahara into the Moroccan political system. Formally the Western Sahara is a non self governing territory. There is a ceasefire monitored in the divided area by an UN mission. That mission is called MINURSO and the second task for this mission is to organize a referendum on the future status of the Western Sahara. The organisation of elections for the Moroccan parliament there looks like a very clear message to the UN and MINURSO: go away stupid fools. It is like your Mohamed VI is spitting UNSG Ban in the face.
    And Mohamed gets away with it for it is so incredibly blunt nobody dares to notice.

    • Zouhair Baghough said, on November 25, 2011 at 01:32

      Hello,

      I seem to remember there were Members of Parliament from down there ever since 1977, perhaps since 1963 (Terfaya excluding Sidi Ifni) so MINURSO and Sahrawi representatives in Parliament house are not a contradiction per se in terms of legitimacy, y’know.

      Cheers!

  2. vankaas said, on November 25, 2011 at 14:26

    There is a difference between having members of the Moroccan parliament coming from Western Sahara and having elections in the Western Sahara for that parliament. Members of parliament could come from Spain or the USA representing Moroccan communities there without incorporating Spanish or USA territory in the Moroccan political system. But this is what is happening in the Western Sahara: it is divided into several districts for the elections for the Moroccan parliament while according to the peace negotiations a referendum should be held on the future status of the territory.
    How would Morocco react if elections for the Polisario congress are held in the Western Sahara? Would their only reaction be like writing a complaint to the UNSG Ban Ki Moon as the president of RASD did? I don’t think so, they would probably commit a lot of arbitrary violence and arrests.

    Anyway, the silence of the UN on the matter is remarkable. If no referendum is going to be held we can expect the disbanding of MINURSO any time now.


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