Morocco’s ruling celebration suffers a crushing defeat by liberal rivals | Politics information
The Justice and Development Party wins just 12 seats in the 395-member parliament, while the National Rally of Independents (NRI) wins 97 seats.
Morocco’s long-standing party suffered a crushing defeat by liberal rivals in the parliamentary elections, according to preliminary results from the interior minister.
The Justice and Development Party (PJD) saw its support crumble from 125 to just 12 seats, way behind its main liberal opponents, the National Rally of Independents (NRI) and Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and the center-right party Istiqlal Party (PI). The results were announced early Thursday.
Celebrations erupted at NRI headquarters when it was announced by election officials that the party had won at least 97 seats, the highest so far among parties that took part in the polls.
PAM took second place with 82 seats, closely followed by PI with 78.
The turnout in the parliamentary elections on Wednesday was just over 50 percent higher than in 2016.
New voting rules should make it more difficult for larger parties to win as many seats as before, which analysts say could cost the moderate PJD, which was the largest party in the last two parliaments.
Morocco is officially a constitutional monarchy, but the king has far-reaching powers. He selects the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the 395-member parliament and appoints the most important ministers.
The palace also sets the economic agenda for the 37 million-inhabitant country in North Africa and has commissioned a development model for the new government to implement.
The dominant role of the monarchy means that the political parties support similar platforms focusing on education, health, employment and welfare.
# Wahlen_2021 / Members of the House of Representatives
National Rally of Independents activists celebrate the party’s 97 seat earnings lead after 96% of the vote has been tallied. @Parti_RNI pic.twitter.com/lbsys696Cg
– 2M.ma (@ 2MInteractive) September 9, 2021
[Translation: Activists of the National Rally of Independents celebrate the party’s lead in the results with 97 seats after 96 percent of the votes were counted.]
“Why should I choose? I don’t expect the vote to improve my situation because politicians only take care of themselves, ”said a worker at a Rabat hotel who said his name was Khalid.
“I voted for a young man from a party that is making realistic promises to develop this country,” said a retiree, who called himself Ibrahim, as he left a polling station in Rabat.
Despite being the largest party since 2011, the PJD has failed to stop laws it opposes, including one to strengthen the French language in education and another that allows cannabis for medicinal use.
The new voting rules, seen by PJD leaders as specifically introduced to achieve their majority stake, are changing the way seats are allocated.
In a statement on Wednesday, the PJD accused rivals of electoral violations, including buying votes, without giving details.