The Moorish Wanderer

Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.4

How many female representatives do we have in Parliament House? A seemingly daft question, since we have 30 slots opened on a national ballot, so as to achieve a 10% parity. But it does not: out of 325 seats, only 4 female representatives managed to take their seats on local ballot, in Kenitra, Kelaat Sraghna, Rabat and Casablanca (Edit: I stand corrected as I had left out Minister Yasmina Baddou. I apologize for the blunder, and I thank the reader who notified me of it)

3 women only managed to scratch enough votes to carry seats in their own right. 3 out of 295 locally elected representatives

This is a bit of a setback: while it is to our credit to allocated a respectable number of seats to female representatives (30 seats is roughly the size of UC, USFP or RNI caucuses, that is, a rather large party) it is also a sad indictment of all efforts in translating gender equality into political reality: in 1993, only 2 female representatives were elected to parliament, compared to the current 4, that’s hardly a triumphant victory for gender equality. As J-C. Santucci reported:

“Le très large renouvellement du Parlement où 187 nouveaux élus dont deux femmes font leur entrée accréditerait également l’idée que le pouvoir serait tenté d’opérer un réel changement gouvernemental et d’engager le pays dans une ‘cure d’alternance’.” (AAN 1993)

Even though the number of female candidates increased from 8 in 1977 to 269 in 2007, their chances in carrying a seat actually dwindled, not out of machismo on behalf of Moroccan population, but because increased competition makes it harder for female candidates to successfully contest election on particular district.

Since 2002, and the adoption of an all-female national ballot, the absolute number of female MPs has indeed increased. But their local legitimacy stagnated, since a tiny minority (no more than 2 to 4) manage to carry seats in their own rights. Ironically, parties with female representatives are not necessarily those with pro-feminist stance, as A. El Massoudi noted:

Néanmoins, la percée des candidatures féminines durant les élections législatives de septembre 2002 atteste de profondes mutations. En effet, le total des candidatures féminines s’est pour la première fois au Maroc élevé à 966 : 269 candidates au niveau des circonscriptions locales et 697 sur les listes nationales “. Cette importance numérique féminine au niveau des candidatures est d’autant vraie si l’on compare avec l’évolution des mêmes candidatures durant les élections législatives antérieures : 72 candidates lors des élections législatives de novembre 1997 et seulement 8 en juin 1977. […] Il serait important de relever que les partis qui ont réalisé le meilleur pourcentage féminin au plan des listes locales ne sont pas nécessairement ceux qui ont toujours  développé des thèses féministes : le MNP  et le parti des Forces citoyennes réalisent le top avec 7% des candidatures
féminies (19 et 18 femmes respectivement) (AAN 2002)

By contrast, there’s a stalwart of parliament house, an old hand on the switch as they say, USFP Premier, Rep. Abdelouahed Radi (Beni Hssein – USFP) and leader of the house, has been elected member of parliament ever since 1963.

The fat cat who gets the cream.