Moroccans turn away from politics

Low turnout suggests citizens lack confidence in their country’s political parties.

It was hoped that efforts to ensure transparent
elections would encourage Moroccans to vote [EPA]

The low turnout in Morocco’s legislative elections suggests Moroccans are tired of the poor performance of the country’s politicians, analysts have said.

“The low turnout is a slap at the face of all Moroccan political parties and the previous government. The people are fed up with seasonal politics,”  one Moroccan analyst commented.

“Candidates show up only during electoral period and disappear after victory.

“The people’s resentment is also directed to the previous government which achievements did not touch on their daily problems.”

In some areas, turnout in Friday’s legislative elections was as low as 20 per cent and did not exceed 41 per cent at best.

Even the main Islamic Justice and Development party (PJD), which enjoys popularity among the poor in many of the country’s marginalised communities, achieved weaker results than expected, according to preliminary figures released by the government.

Morocco traditionally sees a low turnout at the polls, but authorities had hoped that efforts to assure transparent elections would encourage citizens to vote in great numbers.   

Elections 2007

Al Jazeera’s coverage of the Morocco elections

The elections were monitored by the Consultative Council for Human Rights and around 50 international observers, but this appeared not to effect the public’s view of Moroccan politics.

Instead, the record low turnout appeared to show that the elections had failed to motivate Moroccans, especially the country’s youth.

‘Freer to say no’

But while some political analysts considered the low turnout a message of disappointment to political parties and the previous government, others considered it a success for transparency and credibility.

One defended the turnout, saying that people “feel freer to say no” now than they had in the past.

“A turnout of 41 per cent in transparent elections is better than the past 99.9 per cent in corrupt elections,” he said.

Many following the elections agree that Moroccan politics is in need of new faces, ideas and programmes to attract the mainly young Moroccan population.

Many Moroccans see the political parties as archaic and out of touch, but believe that the monarchy has managed to modernise itself.

The king is well-loved but Moroccans from all walks of life appear have lost faith in the political parties and have more trust in king Mohammed VI, the young reformist monarch.

For them the king is the only person they feel serves the public interest, while political parties serve only their own interests and those of their relatives.

Others feel that elections have never changed anything in their lives and see no reason to vote.

Source: Al Jazeera


The plight of street children does not feature in any political party’s programme.

9 Sep 2007
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