The Moorish Wanderer

Moroccan Elections for the Clueless Vol.5

A quick-and-dirty post:

8 political parties have just announced some sort of electoral alliance for November 25th.

from right to left: Abdelkrim Benâtik (PT) Mohamed Abied (UC) Mohand Laenser (MP) Abdelmjid Bouzoubâa (PS) Mohamed Fares (PGV) Salahedine Mezouar (RNI) Cheikh Biadillah (PAM) Mohamed Khalidi (PRV) and a 9th person I couldn't identify (photo via facebook)

Note:for the record, the inflationary number of political parties in Morocco compels me to delineate exactly each party’s name.

PT: Parti Travailliste (centre-left)
UC: Union Constitutionnelle (neo-liberal right)
MP: Mouvement Populaire (conservative right)
PS: Parti Socialiste (populist-left)
PGV: Parti de la Gauche Verte (environment-left)
RNI: Rassemblement National des Indépendants (centre-right)
PAM: Parti Authenticité et Modernité (ultra-monarchist)
PRV: Parti de la Renaissance et de la Vertu (moderate islamist)

This is great, isn’t it? This Alliance for Democracy gathers a super-caucus of 156 seats, an a motley of parties from across the political spectrum: Benâtik and Bouzoubâa are very close to labour-unions (a handy card if this coalition ever gets to form the next government) and could manage to broker deals for any future painful spending cuts; Laenser, Mezouar and Biadillah are leaders of large political parties with a nationwide representation, strong caucuses and extensive government experience, Khalidi, a former PJD member, could well prove to be an experimental device for moderate Islamists in government (I would personally follow with great interest what Representative Abdelbari Zemzami, a PRV member, could do as a Habus and Islamic Issues Minister) as for Dr. Farès, I suppose the alliance needed the “Democratic Left” brand, since the Green Left Party has been founded by Omar Zaïdi, a former Radical leftist and member of PSU (and the amazing thing with leftists, they do not completely sever ties with former comrades, yet another handy backroom channel)

Is this motley of political parties likely to win an election? The law of electoral mathematics in Morocco knows no Euclidean constraints: in 1977 and 1984, respectively Independent and UC candidates wiped the electoral floor with older and much more organized parties. The parallel is not very accurate, but the Koutla, save perhaps for their respective pre-independence history, cannot claim to be anywhere more homogeneous than this Alliance. Plus it displays clear lines between Senior/Junior partners: Assuming this alliance retains a similar number of seats, it is a safe bet to assume it will hold itself together all the way up to 2016.

What about the other parties? USFP and Istiqlal will feel genuinely threatened by the PAM-UC-RNI-MP core alliance, and will try to seal a deal by reactivating and strengthening the old-times Koutla, perhaps by including Khyari’s FFD, or even seriously reconsider their position with PJD. The latter is even more threatened by any electoral bloc that would, in effect, put it in an unconformable minority position.

Political leaders, it seems, are beginning to understand a free-for-all isn’t going to work. The leader of a political alliance, on the other hand, has reasonable chances to become the next Head of Government. We shall expect announcements on future electoral alliances very soon.

Out-of reach, out of touch-standing

Posted in Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on May 6, 2010

Commenting news is not for me; One needs to be a little superficial to do so. My own level of superficiality allows only for bogus scientific articles. However, I would gladly prepare for a breach of custom, since, in Shakespeare words; “a custom is more honoured in the breach than in the observance”. I
Read in
Robin des Blogs’ : “Le plus Grand drapeau au monde sera marocain”. Oh, that’s sounds interesting: dropping the largest flag ever on Dakhla. This brilliant initiative is backed by the highest authority (that’s what they say anyway…), and is aiming to prove that when a couple of young Moroccans put their minds to it, they can achieve anything. And they did, for they put their mind into one of the most useless things ever, and unfortunately, they are on their way to succeed. Last month they published a communiqué, following (with some comments, sorry, I couldn’t help it)

“SOUS LE HAUT PATRONAGE DE SA MAJESTÉ LE ROI MOHAMMED VI, QUE DIEU L’ASSISTE in upper case of course, the King deserves it after all, but it sounds more like ‘the King is backing us, join us or back off and shut it’. I am usually not prone to exaggeration, but it suspiciously sound like on of those totalitarian demonstrations to keep the people’s attention off critical issues.

Le Cercle des Jeunes Démocrates Marocains a l’honneur de vous présenter: L’appel de toute une génération, « Le plus grand Drapeau Du Monde » Parce que notre objectif vise à ce que le marocain, particulièrement le plus jeune, ne reste pas un spectateur passif de l’histoire, mais en devienne bel et bien l’acteur; qu’il ne se demande pas ce que son pays peut faire pour lui, mais ce que lui peut faire pour son Pays. Wow, very John Fitzgerald Kennedy statesman-like! (The part of his inaugural speech when he says: ‘And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country’) I like the part where the young Moroccan has to get with it and gets in history; Very moving indeed.

“Pour démontrer à tous, que le jeune Marocain peut réaliser des prouesses quand ce dernier est mis en confiance, qu’il est prêt à défier l’inconnu par amour pour son pays”. That’s what I call patriotism. A little makhzenian of course, but there you go. I fear there’s a fine line between the unity road symbol and the biggest –waste of resource for cheap publicity– flag in the world. If it’s a feat the young CJDM are looking for, surely there’s a better strategy? I don’t know… build another road between Tarfaya and Daora perhaps; Though I fear the posh, upper-class would-be elite does not lower itself to such lowly chore. Le projet du « plus grand drapeau du monde » vise à promouvoir les valeurs citoyennes telles que le civisme, la solidarité et le patriotisme. Cet évènement a pour ambition de promouvoir une citoyenneté active, incluant les droits et les devoirs. C’est sur ce concept que le Cercle des Jeunes Démocrates Marocains puise la force de ses idées.

I can’t comment on that. On the one hand these values are indeed something I strongly believe in. On the other hand a bunch of d*ckheads are acting as though they were the very first to advocate these values; the very sort of ex-nihilo thinking typical of the ignorant.

L’évènement est prévu début Mai à Dakhla et verra trois cent cinquante jeunes venant des seize régions du Royaume déployer un drapeau marocain d’une superficie supérieur à 43 000 m², un record mondial qui sera validé par le « Guinness Book ». Ah, figures! 43.000 M² that’s a lot of resources. Dans cette perspective, le Cercle des Jeunes Démocrates Marocains organisera une série de conférences au Maroc et à l’étranger autour du thème de la citoyenneté marocaine et lancera une campagne de communication au niveau international sur le plan d’autonomie des provinces du Sud.

Nous avons besoin de toi… de lui… d’elle… de vous… de nous tous… (Very moving, words are simply not enough to describe the feelings!)

Car ensemble tout devient possible. (Oh, is Sarkozy in it too?)

Now That I spat my nihilist and fundamentally pro-separatist radical ideology (as a blogger colleague stated recently) let us look at this ‘initiative’ in a more rational fashion.

The flag. Unfortunately for our young activists, it seems the precedent (an Israeli flag was displayed in November 2007) was subject to debate; Haaretz says it covers an area of 66.000 M², but the Guinness Book of Record does not agree (according to their figures, 18.800 M²), So I wouldn’t be too sure the Dakhla flag would enter with the whole 43.000 M²… Then there’s this other large flag unfold in Israel as well in September 2009 (that one is not in the Guiness Book though.) That’s quite interesting, because according to the promoters, its cost was about $120.000. That’s a lot of money. No doubt our lot got a discount. Let us assume the cost per unit was 10MAD/M², that should get around 430.000MAD. What on earth could one do with such a ridiculously low amount of money? Well, the 2009 Budget could for instance, be paid for the waters and fishery department investment allowance at Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira region. It could also pay for say a 30-employees strong small business minimum wage for a year (around 1500MAD in real terms) ou zid ou zid… In any case, that money could have been put to a better use. Do the maths again with a slightly higher cost unit and you will see numbers grow fast.

Getting a royal patronage is admittedly, a good thing for Mehdi Bensaid, Reda Bachir El Bouhali and Aymane El Alj. However, it’s quite dangerous for the Monarchy’s stand. It has been a sort of an official doctrine: the King rises above party political matters (but leaves the business to one of his trusted henchmen) however, for him to associate his name so closely to such initiative; It is… well, beyond me. But of course I am a loyal subject of the crown, and it is constitutionally forbidden for me to comment on his decisions. Let us now move to what these -how should I put it in a polite manner?- amateurs are trying to advocate as a cause, the self-promoted national cause. Do we need to remind them of how Morocco submitted to the French-Spanish protectorate? I very much doubt they would act the same if they’d known how this whole business of Sahara dispute arose. Perhaps we need to refresh their memories –if they had any kind of those- on how the Moroccan Liberation Army was left to be destroyed by the colonialist forces, while trying to gain back the Sahara. This document from the French Ministry Of Defence does state (p20-21) the Monarchy always denied support to this Army, and did nothing to help –quite the contrary- when it was blown into oblivion on February 10, 1958 (Operation Ecouvillon/Ouragan) do we need to remind them what role a certain CIA Operative played in this little-known episode? Or perhaps they won’t take it, A call but to no avail.

Let us leave the new-generation elite playing their puerile games; they shall need time to grow mature like their elders…for the better or the worse!