The Moorish Wanderer

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.

His moustache is not a new fashion, mind you.

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)

Morocco’s Political Leaders and Some Fiction Characters

Posted in Ancient Times, Happy Times, Intikhabates-Elections, Morocco, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on November 3, 2011

Let us enjoy some jokes at the expenses of our politicians. It lightens the mood and reminds everyone of  us that though we take issues seriously, it would be best never to forget not to take ourselves too seriously.

ALIBUY- Driss Lachgar

A villain in Bee Movie, Al. Layton (ALIBUY) is the attorney representing “The Honey Trust”. A colourful character with considerable girth, Al doesn’t shrink from using bare-knuckles tactics to discredit the bees during the court hearings. In Moroccan politics, Al would do just fine: the long way to the top requires to do whatever it takes to reach it; Not that anyone would suggest M. Lachgar would do such a thing, or that he is a practitioner of the dark political arts.

Incidentally, Driss Lachgar is also a lawyer.

Calimero - Mohamed Cheikh Biadiallah

PAM leader and Calimero do not share much in terms of charisma, but they are both quick at complaining repetitively: “This is not fair!”. A catchphrase the nominal head of the Tractor Party frequently uses the deflect criticism about the real motives behind the existence of PAM. Oh, and both have a rather large forehead; egg-shaped and all.

Mahmoud Archane - Bob Ritchie

Governor Robert ‘Bob’ Ritchie (James Brolin) is a character from the West Wing, and President Bartlet‘s Republican opponent during his second election campaign. Any West Wing fan would tell you there is a troubling resemblance between both characters, physically and perhaps in personalities too: a declared hatred of liberals -either as soft on crime or outright prone to treason- a rejection of intellectualism as elitism and alien to folksy culture, etc. former Police Chief Mahmoud Archane -who has gone out of the Moroccan political radar for a while- is still MDS (Mouvement Démocratique et Social) figurehead.

"OBenkirane Kenobi" (Abdelilah Benkirane - Obi Wan Kenobi)

Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars -as portrayed by the legendary Sir Alec Guiness– bears some resemblance to PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane; and not just physical features. Both have dedicated their lives to fight the Dark Side of the Force – although it is not always clear who is Benkirane’s Sith Lord. But apart from that, they do not share much in terms of character: Benkirane can be petulant, aggressive and bullying at times. Obi Wan Kenobi would simply say, in Guiness’ lofty voice: “These aren’t the Islamists you’re looking for

Abdelouahed Radi - The Cat

Somehow, I have always believed Abdelouhed Radi -USFP Premier- to be some well-fed cat (who got the cream) in another life. His mysterious smile, his jovial figure and that je-ne-sais-quoi air of gentleman farmer (which he is) that really do not embody the imagine of fire-and-brimstone socialist one might think of when referring to USFP. Just like the Cat in Lewis Carol’s novel, Abdelouahed Radi swoops in unexpectedly, with a broad smile he always leaves behind when he disappears. But beware! Just like the cat, he is always around (in fact, ever since the 1963 elections)

Abdelkrim Benâtik - Patrick Bateman

Both are handsome and have been working in the banking sector. But one (Christ Bale in American Psycho) is an inner psychopath the other… Well, one may never know. For a long time, Abdelkrim Benâtik -PT leader- has been the handsome playboy of Moroccan politics and a bit of a maverick when he was still USFP junior minister.

Salaheddine Mezouar - Ulysses Everett McGill

Our very own George Clooney looks a lot like Ulysses Everett McGill from O’Brother movie. Handsome indeed, but a bit crooked; McGill, who boasts about his superior intellectual over his two companions, turns out to be a fraud. Our Finance Minister and (next?) Head Of Government is so much better than that, and he still retains George Clooney’s masculine charm.

Hamid Chabat - Tucco "The Ugly"

Hamid Chabat is no Tucco (Ellie Walash in “The Good The Bad and the Ugly“). Save perhaps for the moustache, he has risen through the ranks of UGTM union; while some might find similarities with a Highwayman’s curriculum, Fez mayor has acquired respectability. Tucco has not. But both seem to be lured by the prize: one is looking for power in one of the largest parties in Morocco, the other $ 200,000 in Confederate Gold.


Posted in Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Moroccanology, Polfiction by Zouhair ABH on January 19, 2010

Avant de commencer de chambrer Lachgar (gentiment, hein, l’homme est ministre maintenant, faut pas gâcher sa joie). Pour son double discours, quelques données à compiler. No offense aux militants de l’USFP, ce n’est pas personnel.

Driss Lachgar est avocat. En 2007, il ne réussit pas à se faire élire à la circonscription de Rabat-Chellah. A cette époque (et même actuellement), l’USFP vit une crise grave qui menace d’éclater –ou de faire éclater le Parti-. Lachgar se distingue très rapidement par un appel au retour de l’USFP au retour à l’opposition. Membre du Bureau Politique, il déclare par voie de presse que l’USFP ne peut pas s’allier avec le PJD. L’interview est même publiée sur le site de l’USFP, on y lit :

ALM : On parle de plus en plus de la possibilité d’une alliance entre l’USFP et le PJD. Qu’en est-il réellement ?
Driss Lachgar : Nos alliances sont claires et évidentes. Elles ne peuvent être possibles qu’avec la majorité gouvernementale. Le PJD fait partie de l’opposition et chacun de nous à un rôle différent à jouer. Il est de ce fait impossible, que ce soit pour le PJD ou pour l’USFP, qu’on travaille ensemble. Ceci est en fait inimaginable. Les bases d’une telle alliance sont inexistantes, sauf si l’un des deux partis change de positionnement.’ (La majorité gouvernementale, à l’époque se composait de l’Istiqlal, de l’USFP, le PPS, le RNI, le MTD (jusqu’en août 2009).

Lachgar se ravise, et participe même à une double entrevue avec Mustapha Ramid et le Journal Hebdomadaire. Les deux désignent un même adversaire quelques mois avant les Communales de Juin 2009, le PAM. Extrait :

En vérité, ce n’est pas un rapprochement électoraliste.[…] Je vais aller plus loin. Le rapprochement entre le PJD et l’USFP a commencé après 2007, sans rencontres ni réunions. Consultez le site de l’USFP et celui du PJD concernant l’évaluation des élections de 2007. Vous constaterez que les deux évaluations sont à peu près similaires. On aurait dit qu’elles ont été élaborées par une même commission. On y trouve les mêmes remarques sur le déroulement du scrutin, sur le rôle de l’administration, sur l’utilisation massive de l’argent et des notables. […]

Avant sa nomination, Lachgar était connu pour son attachement au retour de l’USFP à l’opposition. Plus maintenant, car ‘ce qui a changé, c’est que les élections ont transformé le paysage politique actuel, et tout acteur politique se doit de prendre en considération ces changements, et les intégrer dans son analyse, et dans ses positions.’ (Interview avec Alawsat)

La question qui se pose est : pourquoi tout ce tapage pour le retour à l’opposition ?

– une manière de dire au pouvoir : ‘wana, fin 7e9i ?’ (toute blague mise à part).

– un message du Makhzen au peuple marocain : ‘voyez, même les plus virulents de mes opposants finissent par passer le cou dans le collier -ou le joug- makhzénien’

– un changement réel et dramatique du Maroc, quelque chose comme la fameuse crise cardiaque des années 1980-1990, qui a obligé Lachgartor à se porter la rescousse ?

Quoi qu’il en soit, il est loin le temps du jeune et du vieux Lachgar…