Saturday, September 23

Introduction

UPDATE ON MORROCO’S FORTHCOMING GENERAL ELECTIONS

Morocco’s next general elections had been, originally, scheduled for Fall 2012, following the end of the current Parliamentary session. With the events of 2011’s Arab Spring, however, and the King Mohammed VI’s response, recommending in his speech of March 9th major governmental reforms and establishment of a citizen’s commission to draft a new constitution, the country prepared for a national referendum rather than general elections.

Once a new constitution was finalized, it was endorsed by over 98% of eligible voters, with a 74% turnout for the referendum, one of the highest ever in Moroccan history.

On July 30th, the King laid out a roadmap for new general elections and charged the Interior Ministry with responsibility of establishing a date and informing the country’s various political parties, including new groups which have sprung up as a result of the February 20th Movement and others which favor the reforms but feel they have not gone far enough. Beside settling on a date for the general elections, other issues the Ministry address included electoral law, funding of political parties, national and local voting lists, voting quotas reserved for women and youth, actual voting procedure, electoral boundaries, electoral monitoring and supervision of elections by judges and, finally, transparency of the electoral process through active engagement of civil society groups and foreign observers.

With these issues now resolved, general elections were set for November 25th, 2011, providing parliamentary endorsement of the new rules for political parties, voter registration and election observation is secured.

Parliament must convene a special session to review and approve these new revisions to the regulations governing elections and then issue a formal decree confirming the November 25th date of the general election. Before the election, however, Morocco’s various political parties must settle on their leadership, develop economic and social policies and programs designed to meet the expectations and challenges of a country in transition.

Hicham Enhaili

August 26, 2011