Moroccan elections: Disappointing voter turnout

Turnout seen as reflection of dissastisfaction with governments’ performance and politicians’ disconnect from reality.

Parliamentary elections campaigns in Morocco
Voters want the next government to generate employment [Ahmed El Amraoui/Al Jazeera]

Rabat, Morocco – Polls have closed in Morocco’s legislative elections marked by low turnout despite widespread awareness campaigns educating citizens on the importance of voting.

The latest figures from the interior ministry put the turnout on Friday in 95 electoral districts at 43 percent.

Results are expected in the early hours of Saturday.

The phenomenon is widely considered a message of disappointment to political parties, which remain unable to motivate the citizens, especially the country’s youth.

Many citizens have expressed their resentments to Al Jazeera on the poor performance of the previous governments and the country’s politicians, who remain unable to touch on the citizens’ daily problems.

Al Jazeera visited a polling centre at Al Massira Avenue in Yaacoub El Mansour district in the capital Rabat, where the voting process was progressing smoothly.

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Mohamed Belayachi, 65, a lorry driver, was among the first to vote in the early hours.

“I voted today on PJD [the Islamic Justice and Development Party] because I believe in the work they have done and that they have shown enough effort and change. I don’t think that other parties may have better solutions.”

Majda Lakhal, 21, a student, decided to cast a blank vote.

“I did vote today but I haven’t chosen any party. I have read their programmes and their promises but they didn’t seem to be convincing enough to me.

“We could clearly see redundancy in what they were saying.”


Al Jazeera also talked to Mohamed Yassir Taki, 27, a geologist who boycotted the elections.

“I voted before but I wasn’t convinced with the government’s work, so I decided to boycott this year.

“Many following the elections agree that Moroccan political parties are archaic and out of touch and that they are in need of new faces, ideas and programmes to attract the citizens.

No decisive victory is predicted from these elections as the multi-party system in the kingdom makes it impossible for any political party to win an absolute majority, forcing any winning party to work with other parties to form a coalition government.

Voters talking to Al Jazeera generally agreed on their expectations from the elections. 

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Many expect from the next government to alleviate the situation of health care, education and find new mechanism to generate employment, which remain major social challenges that previous governments failed to handle.

“People have lost confidence in politicians and political parties, and I don’t think the turnout will be high,” Jamal Ben Issa, an analyst, told Al Jazeera.

“Most of the leading parties in Morocco have been tested before, but failed to translate their promises in the electoral campaigns into achievements on the ground.”

Maha Naami contributed reporting to this piece

Morocco election: Candidates vow to tackle unemployment

Source: Al Jazeera