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Morocco.. What is the future of the “Justice and Development” party after losing the elections?

Amman Today

publish date 2021-09-13 11:55:34

The Moroccan “Justice and Development” Party suffered a defeat described as “severe” in the recent legislative elections, after it came eighth by obtaining only 13 seats, down from 125 seats it won in the 2016 elections.

It is expected that the decline will have influential repercussions within the house of the Islamic Party, where it is experiencing a shock from the “surprising” results that the most pessimists did not expect, after experts kept nominating it to compete for the lead.

Observers of the political scene believe that the results of the party (leader of the outgoing government coalition) brought it back to the size it was a quarter of a century ago, when it won 12 seats in the 1997 elections.

On Wednesday, simultaneous legislative and local elections were held, in which the “National Rally of Independents” (liberal) party won 102 out of 395 seats in the House of Representatives (first chamber of parliament).

Subsequently, King Mohammed VI appointed, on Friday, the party’s Secretary-General, Aziz Akhannouch, as head of the government and tasked him with forming it, as stipulated in the Moroccan constitution.

Analysts’ opinions, in separate statements to Anatolia, went to say that the “Justice and Development” has the ingredients to recover from the remnants of the electoral loss, even after a while.

** First decisions

After the elections were retracted, the Justice and Development leadership announced its resignation from the General Secretariat “in bearing responsibility”, and the party’s transition “to the ranks of the opposition.”

The party’s secretariat said in a statement, after an extraordinary meeting last Thursday in the capital, Rabat: “We bear the full political responsibility for managing this stage, and the members of the General Secretariat, led by the Secretary-General (Saad Eddine El Othmani), decided to submit their resignation from the General Secretariat.”

“We are facing a new political behavior in Moroccan political life, which is that the party leadership, when it lost the elections, submitted its resignation,” said Abdelhafid Younesi, professor of political science at Hassan I University (governmental/north).

The spokesman continued to Anadolu Agency: “We can read the resignation from two angles. The first is that we are facing a real democratic practice, in which responsibility is assumed by a party leadership that lost the elections.”

He added: “The second reading says that the resignation is just an escape from responsibility.”

The party’s secretariat called, hours after the results of the elections, to hold an extraordinary session of the National Council (the party’s parliament), on September 18, “in order to comprehensively assess the electoral benefits and take appropriate decisions.”

It also called for “the expedited convening of an exceptional national conference for the party as soon as possible.”

** The return of Benkirane

The Justice and Development Party has entered an endless cycle since the exoneration of its former Secretary General, Abdelilah Benkirane, from forming the government (in 2016), and the appointment of Saad Eddine El Othmani (head of the outgoing government) as his successor.

Observers believe that one of the reasons for the party’s decline is Benkirane’s absence from the leadership scene, due to the dispute with El Othmani and the General Secretariat team over a number of issues, including the adoption of the French language in teaching.

According to Younesi: “It is certain that the Justice and Development Party will not recover from the shock of losing the elections until after a long period of time.”

He believes that “the most positive scenario for the party to recover is the return of Abdelilah Benkirane once again to lead the party, with his credibility and his ability to crystallize the discourse and perception of politicians.”

As for the second scenario, Al-Younissi adds: “The entire current leadership leaves the party for a new leadership from the sons of the Islamic movement, and from those who believe in the party’s project, to lead the next stage.”

He added, “I think we will be facing a transitional period in which the old leaders will attend, but with a strong presence of the second generation of party leaders.”

** Transition

In turn, political analyst Muhammad Boden told Anadolu Agency: “Given that Benkirane has merit over the party that achieved glories during his reign, especially in the 2011 and 2016 legislative elections, and the 2015 municipal elections, the man can be an inspiration for the Justice and Development Party.”

The head of the (non-governmental) “Atlas Center for Analysis of Political Indicators” continued: “But Benkirane must look for a successor, because he will not always remain, and the party should not be based on one person, as it is an institutional building that requires the presence of more than one alternative.”

He added, explaining: “Benkirane himself must lead the party only during a transitional phase.”

Boden asserts that what is required is “building a modern party, with an ideology based on achievement and the search for solutions, while staying away from the political discourse that makes its relationship with some of its partners a kind of collision and lack of understanding or understanding.”

Immediately after the results of the elections appeared, Benkirane rushed to call on his current Secretary-General, Ottoman, to resign after the party’s “painful defeat.”

In a letter bearing his signature, posted on Facebook, Benkirane said: “As a member of the party’s National Council, and based on my legal status as a former Secretary-General of the party, and after learning about the painful defeat our party suffered in the elections (..) I see that it is not worthy of our party in this The circumstances are difficult, unless the Secretary-General assumes his responsibility and resigns from the leadership of the party.”

** party exhausted

Muhammad Boden believes that “the Justice and Development Party launched strongly in 2011, and reached exhausted to the 2021 elections, after exercising power during two government terms.”

He continued: “The party was affected by its internal situation, and went to the electoral college without a great achievement, based on it to convince the citizens.”

He added, “The loss of 112 seats between 2016 and 2021 represents a significant and unprecedented erosion of its electoral base, and thus the party leadership’s submission of its resignation, a democratic behavior.”

He considered that “the Justice and Development Party will always have a future in Morocco,” noting that “there are several considerations, including being an essential component of the Moroccan political scene, given that the political climate in Morocco is pluralistic.”

He added: “Of course, whoever exercises the majority today may practice the opposition tomorrow, and whoever exercises the opposition today may exercise the majority tomorrow.”

He continued, “The mechanism of rotation and rotation of power is important, and it is a basic rule in Moroccan democratic life, and in democratic choice, despite the observations recorded by each political party.”

** “An opposition without fangs”

Abdel Hafeez Al-Younissi considered that “the Justice and Development Party has moved to the opposition without fangs.”

Al-Younissi said: “The party has 13 parliamentarians, while the parliamentary (bloc) team consists of 20 deputies, which means that it is without a parliamentary team.”

He added: “Also, the party will not be able to run the municipalities, after it was running in the expired state 169 municipalities.”

He continued, “All this means that the party’s ability to achieve and serve the citizens will be weak.”

And he added, “This requires him to return to social work in the first place, and we do not know whether the state will allow him to do so or not, but it is certain that he will move to the opposition without fangs.”

For the first time in the history of the Kingdom, the “Justice and Development” (an Islamic reference) has headed the government since 2011, after winning the elections that year, which followed in 2016. ​​​​

Anatolia

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