Morocco confirms democratic exception in region
Morocco held parliamentary, local and regional elections on time marked by alternation and the peaceful transition of power without interference in the sovereign choice of the people who elected the RNI first and dealt a painful blow to moderate PJD Islamists.
Islamist PJD climbed to power using the democratic ladder in 2011 and 2016 elections but they also had to take the same ladder to descend after they failed to convince Morocco’s electorate.
Islamists led their first government in 2011 on the back of a new constitution that gives the government extensive powers without any interference in the democratic process they took the presidency of the government for a second term until their crushing defeat in 2021.
Meanwhile in the region, the Egyptian army replicated the Algerian experience in the 1990s and staged a coup to prevent Islamists from ruling which led to the radicalization of the latter and fed their victimization discourse.
In Tunisia, the President disbanded the parliament and sacked the prime minister in a move that is partly targeted at curbing the clout of Islamists in Tunisian politics.
In such an anti-democratic regional environment, Morocco is showing the way that democracy is the solution and that the people who voted for Islamists are also capable of dealing them a painful blow if they fail to meet their promises.
The PJD’s seats shrunk from 125 in 2016 to only 13 in the 2021 parliamentary election. Analysts describe this humiliating electoral defeat as a punishment by the Moroccan voters.
Ideological slogans and words unmatched by action are to blame for the PJD’s defeat. Most people who had voted for them were expecting concrete reforms to cut unemployment, bolster growth and improve social services. However, almost a decade after they led the government, little has changed.
The RNI was elected after a nation-wide electoral campaign in which they laid out an ambitious program including the creation of 1 million jobs and a focus on improving education and the economy. The extent to which they succeed in implementing these promises will be decisive in the next elections. The era of ideological slogans is over!
Through the recent election, marked by a turnout of 50.35%, Morocco shows that it remains an island of stability in a tumultuous region.
The elections reflect the maturity of the political system in the country and the role of the monarchy as a custodian of the democratic process and the peaceful transition of power.