Super election day in Morocco: a lot to choose, little desire to vote

Status: 08.09.2021 14:41

In Morocco, parliamentary, regional and local elections fall on one day. More than 30 parties are fighting for votes. But very few voters believe in change – also because power in the country lies in other hands.

By Dunja Sadaqi, ARD Studio Northwest Africa

In the morning, individual voters in a low-income neighborhood in Rabat come out of the voting booth in a hurry. Like young Hassan. He is 32 years old and works as a civil servant: “We vote so that our country is better off. We young people have a duty to vote. We are waiting for a lot to change: infrastructure, work, health. There is a lot that that we are waiting for. “

A quiet election campaign

More than 30 parties are standing for election in Morocco. Each of them is linked to a highly recognizable symbol: such as a tractor, a lion’s head, the oil lamp or opened book pages. In the past few days, the flyers have been stuck on cars and election advertising on walls.

Shortly before the election, electoral teams marched through the neighborhoods to mobilize. But this election campaign was much quieter and less visible than in the previous parliamentary elections in 2016 – due to the corona pandemic. Much took place online.

Low voter turnout expected

Experts expect a low turnout. In surveys, a good two thirds of those questioned stated that they did not want to vote.

According to official information, around 43 percent of those eligible to vote had cast their vote in the 2016 parliamentary elections. This year only around 18 million of the 25 million eligible voters have even registered.

Taxi driver Mohammed will not vote either. He seems resigned: “I’m not voting because I have no rights in this country anyway. I’ve been a taxi driver for 46 years and have nothing. I have children who don’t work. I look after them and I work for them and torture myself. Me am 70 years old. “

The hope of the upturn has not been fulfilled

Ten years after the “Arab Spring”, not much has changed for many people. The hope for a personal, economic upswing is clouded. Unemployment among young people in particular has remained high. Many want to leave.

Intissar Berhoun is also afraid of that. She comes from a poor background, explains the mother of five. One of her sons fled to Spain by boat and was deported again. You vote for the future of your children, she emphasizes, even if she does not know exactly which party could really be the best for it. She worries:

Poverty must be less. I have three grown-up children who have graduated from high school and cannot find work. The youth is lost. Another son is already talking about running away. Whenever he comes home late, I am afraid that he has left. And even my 21-year-old, who graduated from high school, cannot find a job.

Suffrage reform could weaken strong parties

Even if many believe that this election will not bring about any change again, an electoral reform has caused heated discussions recently. Experts expect the larger parties to lose power in the parliamentary elections. The reason is a new calculation method to distribute the seats in parliament.

Above all, it could hit the conservative Islamic PJD hard, the Justice and Development Party, which has been the strongest force in parliament since 2011. With the new calculation, it will probably lose numerous seats in parliament even without losing votes.

A competition between king and government

The political system in Morocco remains difficult, says the analyst Rachid Touhtouh: “We have two heads of state: the king and the elected government. economic and strategic projects. And we have to ask what is left for any government? “

Even after the parliamentary election, King Mohammed VI remains the most powerful man in the state. He has already announced a massive development program in advance. Although the protests of the “Arab Spring” led to reforms, a new constitution and more power for parliament ten years ago, the king still holds the most important departments firmly in his hands. No matter what the elections are today.

Lots of choice, little desire to vote – super election day in Morocco

Dunja Sadaqi, ARD Rabat, 9/8/2021 1:52 p.m.

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