By Imrane Binoual in Casablanca
Morocco’s extension of the voter registration deadline is a godsend for political parties.
The political groups are working with organisations for youth to encourage people to register before the new deadline is reached on February 19th.
The government is also doing whatever it can to boost voter registration and turnout for the June 2015 communal elections.
For the first time, the interior ministry created a website for all Moroccans, even those residing outside the kingdom, to put their names on the voter rolls.
Registration can be completed in two ways: either by going directly to voting offices with national IDs or visiting the website listeselectorales.ma.
According to Tayeb Buaiche, who heads the election department, new registrations or updates to existing ones can be made on the same website. Visitors to the site only need to fill out the required information, he said.
Hit Radio, which launched the Mantsayadch (“I won’t be duped”) campaign to encourage citizens to register, lauded the decision to extend the deadline.
“The idea of launching this civic initiative was devised by the radio station crew, especially as the registration deadline was due to expire on December 31st,” said Hit Radio host Mohamed Bousfiha, known as “Momo”.
“There is no political party or ministry behind this initiative; rather, it’s a spontaneous civic initiative stemming from our sense of responsibility about the need to register on electoral lists, especially as no one has done anything to sensitise citizens about the importance of registration,” the popular announcer told Magharebia.
A rap song was also launched with the website Mantsayadch.ma, and meetings and round tables were organised at schools and universities to go side by side with the campaign.
Momo urged Moroccan youths to participate in the election because high turnout would help transparency.
So far, about 13 million out of 20 million Moroccan citizens of voting age have registered on electoral lists.
“The Mantsayadch, launched by Hit Radio, is a unique campaign, especially as it targets youths who usually ignore exercising their constitutional right,” Asma Bahredine, a 5th-year student at the National School of Business and Management (ENCG) in Casablanca, told Magharebia.
She added that young people aged between 18 and 25 years accounted for only 7% of those registered on the rolls, while people aged between 25 and 35 years accounted for 22%, and those aged between 35 and 45 years accounted for 24%.
“This reflects the urgency of encouraging voting age youths to register to get their voices heard and impose their choices,” she noted.