The Next USFP Premier
It lives! Driss Lachgar has been elected as USFP next boss. A great victory for Game Theory applied to Moroccan politics, and a great victory for the new political order in Morocco.
I should perhaps begin by addressing some issues about the numbers: I am still not sure about the total number of party delegates (1,200? 2,000?) though I am enclined to think the total number of votes was close to 1,600 for both ballots. Other than that, my predictions were broadly vindicated: party delegates chose overwhelmingly parliamentary candidates, and the fact that Mr Oualalou failed to muster enough support to carry him through the second ballot translated automatically into a Lachgar coronation.
Furthermore, I suppose Mr Zaidi was hurt by Mr Malki’s candidacy: indeed, I have assumed delegates had some ranking of their choices, and they move to their second choice when their first did not make it through the first ballot. I have further assumed delegates supporting parliamentary candidates prefer would automatically prefer to vote for Mr Oualalou as a second choice, should he make it to the second ballot. It also appears Mr Lachgar was the main beneficiary of these second or third choices, respectively for Mr Oualalou and Mr Malki supporters.
And now to the political conclusions of tonight: This election, I would argue, signifies the end of intellectual politics in the Moroccan political discourse, and especially in a party that prides itself as a cornucopia of intellectuals and thinkers. And though Mr Lachgar is perhaps has a great deal of education (he is a Lawyer after all) he represents, with Messrs Chabat (PI) and Benkirane (PJD) the very idea of anti-intellectualism, and fully embodies populism as an efficient political strategy.
I also argue this is not as bad as it looks for Moroccan representative democracy: It would be foolish to expect our present political system to produce beacons of integrity, thoughtfulness, honesty and competence. On the other hand, the system rewards those with acute instincts for political survivals, and a large subset of the electoral has confirmed the trend. Now, three populist party bosses means Moroccan politics will be a lot livelier than the past decade, which is always good, and it also creates among the electorate, not a new hope, but some level of expectation. And this is the party where democracy, and ultimately citizens, get their rewards.
As I have mentioned before, these populist exhibit remarkable instincts for political survivals, and their rationality is not to be underestimated (whatever numerology mumbo-jumbo Mr Chabat fancies) they do know they cannot promise what they cannot deliver. They also know the limitations of their own political power; the rational course of action would be to look for professional advice, operatives and specialists to support them in their venture to revolutionise Moroccan politics. Indeed, let us not forget they are all in a quest against some corrupt establishment (though they deny charges of disestablishmentarianism)