A Landslide in Morocco should be construed as an exceptional result compared to earlier elections: at no point in time since 1963 has an opposition party managed to scrap one-third of all seats by itself. “Administrative Parties” (usually dubbed pressure-cooker parties) did better, but they consistently enjoyed strong or discreet support from the Administration. PJD has outperformed Istiqlal and USFP when they were both in opposition. Such a victory, clearly on the merits, needs to be given credit for.
According to the latest results on invalidated ballots (around 20%) PJD should -but these are not official figures- carry some 1.3Mln votes. And that alone means a lot: USFP -Istiqlal in their best days, managed to set a precedent to PJD’s feat only one time, and that was in 1993. And there were two of them.
First off, I need to atone for my own predictions: RNI and their A8 allies did not come ahead of the polls. PJD tripled their caucus when I was expecting them to merely double it; in my wildest expectations, I was considering a PJD conference of 80 seats on both local and national ballots. And they have done so well, it has left the next party well behind by half the number: 107 to PJD vs 60 to Istiqlal. That’s unheard of when it comes to a former opposition party switching to government benches.
That is why I would call it a landslide: in an electoral map that prevents any single political party to win over an absolute majority, a roadblock of sorts further strengthened with the ballot system, PJD was most unlikely to carry a majority of seats.
So a majority landslide is not what has taken place; it was rather a sudden change of political leadership, with PJD overtaking serious competitors and rising to prominence, with a very strong 7% nationwide swing (a figure that needs to be confirmed once popular votes figures are released); PJD has, it seems, taken seats from almost every other competitor while holding to their owns; I cannot recall, so far, a single PJD seat falling to someone else. Elections have been open, fair and accepted as such by may International Observers. They were not perfect or up to international standards – some 8Mln disenfranchised Moroccan citizens do not have a say, simply because they did not register. But so far, the trend observed since 2002 is vindicated: the administration tampers with elections no longer.
PJD, for its landslide, still needs to govern with allies: PJD triumphant (but oddly enough, not triumphalist) leader A. Benkirane said his party was considering Koutla parties first, and all parties next to form a coalition but the ‘one’, a transparent pique directed to arch-enemy PAM.
Where did PJD win over all of these seats? As far as partial results are concerned, primary gains are centred around existing safe PJD seats: PJD Greater Casablanca delegation was 7-seats strong (out of 29) it has evolved, with district boundaries redrawing and adjusted gains, to at about half of the new 34 opened seats. That’s a net gain of a dozen seats, commensurate gains have also been gained in Marrakesh (formerly a PAM/RCU-controlled district) and Tangiers; smaller gains have been registered in Chichaoua (gained from PAM) Fès, plus a couple of seats in Settat, Skhirat, and more importantly, Laayun and Oued Dahab returned PJD’s first representatives South of Agadir.
Negotiations are already on the way for PJD to attract allies, with Koutla so far favoured as the new junior partner, and PAM officially announcing their decision to be the new Leader of the Opposition.
“Landslide Benkirane” is of course a reference to the United States Presidential Elections of 1964 (Johnson-Humphrey vs Goldwater-Miller)