Moroccan Legislative Elections

Moroccans will be going to the polls today, electing their representatives in the lower house of parliament. You may have come across a couple of alarmist pieces in the Western press saying something like “Oh my God, Oh my God, the Islamists are going to win!” (At least it seemed that way to me when I was in Casablanca: a cover story in Le Point every other week on the topic.) But I think there is little chance of that happening, given recent changes in electoral laws and electoral districts. And in any case, the real question ought to be about what elections really mean in a country where there is no system of checks-and-balances and no accountability to the voters.

The elections will put 325 representatives in parliament, and of these 30 are guaranteed to be women (via national lists). In what is billed as a historical event, the Parti du Centre Social has picked a Jewish Moroccan for its national list, Maguy Kakon. But of course, this is not the first time that Moroccans of the Jewish faith have taken part in the legislative process.

By the way, even though I have dual Moroccan and American citizenships, and even though the constitution provides for the voting rights of MREs (or Moroccans Residing Abroad) I am not able to vote in these elections, because no procedures have been put in place for absentee ballots. Voters must be present at their precincts. More than 3 million Moroccans are thus excluded from the democratic experiment.

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