Chatham House Casts Doubt on Polisario’s Claim to Represent Sahrawis
Polisairo leadership and proponents have often claimed to represent the population of the Sahara, despite the fact that Sahrawis have never voted for the separatist militia neither in the Tindouf camps nor in the Sahara provinces, which usually register higher turnout in Morocco’s local and general elections.
This Polisario anomaly was recently laid bare in an analysis published by the UK’s leading think tank Chatham House.
The article, signed by Senior Chatham House researcher Claire Spencer, says that Morocco could have scored precious points if it exposes the despotic character of the Polisario, which has never held transparent elections in Tindouf and has never been voted for by the Population of the southern provinces.
“One avenue the Moroccan authorities have failed to explore fully is the extent to which the Polisario Front speaks for the totality of Sahrawi people,” Spencer said.
She said that Moroccans have often said that “Polisairo leades are not transparently elected, given the pressures exerted on the refugee populations in Algeria; their electorate self-evidently does not include the vote of the Sahrawi population”.
To counter the separatists’ claims, Morocco has incorporated in its official delegation representatives of the local population in the southern provinces as well as victims of the Polisario’s inhumane treatment who managed to flee the Tindouf camps in Western Algeria to Morocco.
The Chatham House researcher also said that it is in the interest of Morocco to offer “more explicit evidence to the UN to demonstrate how autonomy will improve the lot of the Sahrawi population living there,” she said.
That “could generate just the kind of ‘new dynamic’ that Horst Köhler has called for,” she added.