Islamists gain in Morocco's elections

Submitted by Matthew on 1 December, 2011 - 10:10

The 25 November elections in Morocco were won by a soft-Islamist party, the Party for Justice and Development, which models itself on the ruling Turkish Islamist party.

The runner-up was Istiqlal, a conservative monarchist party.

The elections took place amidst intensifying protests. Much of the left participated in a boycott of the elections.

The Moroccan opposition movement has been split between a liberal right wing, regrouping social democrats, nationalists and Islamists, with its base in the centre of the country and the capital Rabat; a left wing of Marxist parties, trade unionists and Berber communities, in the south and north — with the main points of division being over social demands and the demand for a republic.

The government’s strategy has been to isolate anti-monarchist elements by presenting a new constitution, placing the monarchy within a system with marginally more power in the hands of parliament. However, there were unprecedentedly large demonstrations on 13 and 20 November.

These, combined with a very low voter registration (of those registered, according to the government’s own, probably inflated, figures, turnout was only 45%), indicate that the government’s strategy hasn’t been successful.

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