The Moorish Wanderer

Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.12

I apparently have an all-too-serious approach to politics. So let me introduce my topic today with an AC/DC hit – “It’s a Long Way to the Top

I am -of course- referring to the cut-throat competition for candidates to get party endorsements to run for office in a particular district. Things get even murkier with pre-electoral elections, when some parties need to give way to other parties, so that the chaps leading the coalition get a larger caucus, and thus can properly claim government leadership. It seems some strong-arming is going on with A8 “Alliance for Democracy” candidates, some of them being pushed to make way for the now officially leader, RNI party.

So either M. Mezouar is the front-man (or the fall guy if things go awry) for PAM apparatus, or he has really developed some leadership skills meanwhile and has found his raison d’être: Head of His Majesty’s Government. But to do so, his alliance has first to win the election with a majority of seats, and his party needs to be first within that alliance as well. Consequently, some of his partners with nationwide representation will have to cut back on their caucus and pass on these seats to a stronger RNI caucus. This is bound to be acrimonious at best, and trigger some personal animosities;

Let me break it down in single terms: the whole A8 Alliance needs to get a majority of seats on all three levels: on both national ballots (women’s and youth’s) and on individual candidates. In order to do so, and assuming the new augmented number of seats is definitely 395 (OB  27-11 amended at second reading) then:

– 305 local seats

– 60 seats for Women’s ballot

– 30 seats for Youth ballot; it is worth mentioning that Art.23 puts restrictions on the Youth ballot by only allowing male candidates less than 40 years-old.

So, unless A8 Alliance guarantees a clear win with 153 seats locally carried with at least 50 seats in both national ballots to secure a smooth confirmation. The have to tighten their grip on these ballots by presenting strong candidacies, because national ballot seats are not cumulative with respect to the alliance’s result, but the performance of A8 individual components. There is a simple example to illustrate the paradox: RCU (RNI-UC) Women’s caucus is 5-members strong, that is a projected 16.7% of all 30 national Women ballot seats.

Note: discrepancy between 2007 elections and current caucus are 2 representatives defecting from other parties to RCU

But their 63 seats-strong locally elected caucus gathers 21.35% of all 295 local seats; the discrepancy has mainly to do with the nature of their post-electoral alliance there are some districts where RNI and UC candidates were up against one another, and the loser was strong enough to take away crucial votes from the winner, this weakening its majority, and so lowering likelihoods for the party’s winner to get enough votes and “push” for an additional seat on the national ballot.

This is to say that RNI candidates need to have an open fields before them, so as to maximize both their chances and RNI Women’s caucus. The Sad news are that in order to do so, RNI candidates need to take away some of these seats, including from their allies. And here comes the Zerkdi affair:

@bzerkdi Brahim Zerkdi

Je ne serai pas le candidat du MP aux legislatives du 25 Nov

Brahim Zerkdi is the Mouvement Populaire (MP) Representative for Agadir Ida Outanate district. Apparently, he has been told by the MP Parliamentary National Committee he should stand aside. The outgoing representative seems so pissed off at the decision and his party’s bosses he took a “sod it” attitude, and vented his frustration on Twitter; whether that was guileless anger or calculated strategy to pressure his party from the outside is not relevant to the topic at hand: A8 members are ready to ditch some of their strong candidates in order to make way for an RNI coronation. (as a matter of fact, he is so pissed off at his party he is ready to change horses way before he reaches the stream)

Rep. Zerkdi is just -as he puts it– the collateral damage of RNI‘s eagerness to reach the top; And the precise measure of how much RNI needs to win in terms of both local seats and national ballots can be more or less estimated with respect to the most obvious competitors’ showing; PJD can carry at most 60 seats (computed on the basis of 2007 elections results where the party managed to scrape more than 25% outright) and the only way to beat PJD to the top is obviously to deliver 65 seats at least.

And so, RNI is gunning for those districts they couldn’t carry in 2007: Taounate, Tangiers, Taroudant, Tan-Tan are safe bets, while decent results have been carried in Guelmim, Agadir, El-Jadida and Jerada, to name a few (these districts have voted, on average, 8 to 12% for RNI candidates) the strategy, it seems, is therefore to gain  30-ish seats -thus increasing their share in total caucus to 86 seats. The way I see it, MP, UC, PAM and the other smaller parties need to carry no less than 100 seats by themselves to deliver the workable majority of 200 seats. Game results, RNI beats PJD as leader party with 64-65 seats, and has the advantage of already bringing an electoral alliance together, a significant advantage, if PJD still manages to pull together a last-minute alliance with Istiqlal, USFP, PPS and a handful of other parties.

G8 Parties are holding a press conference at the moment it seems; they will, according to Minister Belkhayat, unveil their electoral manifesto Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Stay tuned.