# The Moorish Wanderer

## 2013 Resolutions

Posted in Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on January 5, 2013

That is strange, I didn’t realize I created a draft blogpost for 2013 resolution. But since you’ve asked…

Eat healthy and exercise often: I have started on that, and I intend to keep it up. Quite frankly, I did not realize physical activities like sport had such a liberating effect; it gives the opportunity to clear one’s mind, and I think some of my best ideas (on paper at least) have fermented during my long evening walks.

Read more stuff: that’s a given, although I will try to diversify my reading list, with some literature from every possible language. Now that I have decided to take up Arabic as my default setting language for the blog, I’d better get down to it and read more of it. Plus it is a fun assignment, so that will not be such a shore after all.

Write more stuff: I would like to write a dozen of working papers and/or drafts by the end of this year. I shall do my very best. I mean papers, serious output that won’t be laughed out of academia. Grey and Dull.

Be nicer to people: smooth some rough edges, and perhaps come finally to the conclusion not everyone shares my Weltschauung, or my own interests. The first one I caught on to it pretty early on, the second I have to come to grips with it. I should also apologize to the acquaintances I have pushed on some of these issues.

Be a “realist”: I though I was quite the cynical observer of Moroccan politics, seems I do come across as idealistic, perhaps the very embodiment of the Nihilist activist I wouldn’t like to be. On the other hand, I suppose my perpetual frustration with the snail-paced evolution of democratic reforms in Morocco will keep me on my toes and fuel the inner Nihilism I shall embrace.

Go Geeky: I really need to shake up my IT knowledge. There are pieces of software I need to master, and I shall do my utmost to achieve it.

## 2012 in review

Posted in Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on December 31, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 63,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

## PJD’s “Pocket Landslide”

Posted in Flash News, Intikhabates-Elections, Morocco, Read & Heard, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on December 8, 2012

A little over one year after PJD‘s victory, it would be interesting to look at what is already their electoral legacy, or indeed the lack of real appreciation of how important it is. Not matter how past electoral results come under criticism, they have been de facto the law of the land – whatever the real results following the 2002 elections, all parties agreed to the official results, and these have been validated as such. And it would be better, I think, if this criticism was laid aside, especially since the 2002 election did give PJD a clear win, were it not for the diluting proportional ballot.

Majorities are ‘easier’ to form when the ballot system weighs in pluralities in districts

In general terms, I describe a method that points to majority-based ballot system as a good indicator of how political parties can improve their probabilities of forming a government by themselves, thus delivering stable governments and even more stable parliamentary majorities.

PJD’s victory in 2011 was a pocket landslide because the party was 65 seats short of an absolute majority – even if it was well ahead of its nearest competitor. A majority-based ballot system could have delivered the absolute majority they needed. Their feat was only matched by the joint USFP-PI 1993 campaign. Unfortunately for PJD, they are in a coalition with parties directly (and adversely) affected by any re-districting, or majority-based ballot system. (read here the theoretical argument against coordinated effort among political parties)

This is how I compute these majorities: for a particular district, all of the seats are allocated to the party with a plurality of votes. The simplest, crudest rule of politics – and poker: winner takes all. On the basis of this principle, the electoral map since 1963 is radically changed. I further consolidated party performances by aggregating split-offs – which leads to 13 big ‘partisan conglomerates’ – and these results tell a story: a consolidated political competition over parliamentary control allows for larger probabilities of reaching an absolute majority (in the cases of seats open for local ballot) and these contradict the final outcomes observed over the past couple of elections; for one, the 1997 Alternance would have been led by Istiqlal instead of USFP, and 2002, not 2011 would have been PJD’s coronation. But then again, efficiency is not Morocco’s forte.

These results can then be compared against the probabilities of each party to get a majority of the votes. These probabilities are computed on the basis of past electoral results – with increasing weightings for more recent electoral campaigns. And I am pleased that up to 92% of the historical results are explained by the following, rather simple linear model: $V(\max_{i,j})=\sum\limits_{p_{k,i,j}}^n\alpha_k \mathbb{E} \left[V(P_{k,i,j})\right]+\epsilon_{k,i,j}$

where $\alpha_k$ the estimated probability for a party k to get the plurality in a district i. These parameters need not sum over 1, because there are a lot of cross-party historical votes. This confirm my earlier claim about PJD’s robust position on its 2016 prospects, as well as the need to go for a majority-based system – some parties have clearly more chances to get the majority, while others do not (those have been taken out of the fitting because of the statistical insignificant results)

      Source |       SS       df       MS              Number of obs =     153
-------------+------------------------------           F(  6,   147) =  292.75
Model |  5.1894e+10     6  8.6491e+09           Prob > F      =  0.0000
Residual |  4.3430e+09   147  29544400.6           R-squared     =  0.9228
Total |  5.6237e+10   153   367564886           Root MSE      =  5435.5
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
max |      Coef.   Std. Err.      t    P>|t|     [95% Conf. Interval]
-------------+----------------------------------------------------------------
pnd_pam |   .2806256   .0863479     3.25   0.001      .109982    .4512693
rni_ind |   .4540341   .1007729     4.51   0.000     .2548834    .6531848
mpdc_pjd |   .5029201   .0445715    11.28   0.000     .4148364    .5910038
pi |   .3938989   .0974869     4.04   0.000      .201242    .5865558
fdic_mp |   .2368222   .0761314     3.11   0.002     .0863687    .3872757
unfp_usfp |   .3958337   .0742675     5.33   0.000     .2490639    .5426035
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As one can see, the next elections tend to favour PJD (with an estimated 50.2% chance of getting a vote majority on all seats – quite different from getting a majority of seats) although there are a couple of contenders, and an even stiffer competition between say RNI vs USFP, RNI vs PI, and finally, USFP vs PI. As for PAM, my estimate is they are not likely to get anywhere close to a serious contender for governing party.

In essence, PJD’s electoral legacy would be that of ‘breaking the mould’ of opposition parties: strong enough to have a large caucus, but too weak to force censure motions, and definitely unable to form a government on their own right. It would be a breakthrough legacy if PJD could force through an electoral reform that seeks to improve the chances of a one-party government. True, this would mean PJD is most likely to stay in office for the next decade, but this is about representative democracy.

Data description: seats are allocated to each district per each electoral districting. All of the seats are allocated to the party with a plurality of votes. Parties are merged afterwards when applicable.

## الأرقام و البلاط

Posted in Flash News, Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Morocco, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on November 20, 2012