October 19, 2016
A lot has happened since our last roundup:
- A Narrow Election Victory. On October 7, the incumbent Justice and Development Party (PJD) won 125 seats—a narrow victory over the more liberal Party of Authenticity and Modernity’s (PAM) 102 seats—in Morocco’s second legislative elections since the 2011 constitutional reform. Voter turnout held steady at 43%, just two percentage points shy of the 2011 election voter turnout, as Moroccans chose among 6,992 provisional candidates from 30 different political parties competing for 395 seats in Parliament.
As the Washington Institute’s Sarah Feuer put it before the votes were in, the election was “an important milestone for one of Washington’s few relatively stable allies in the region…. [A] successful election with steady turnout would signal a measure of public buy-in to a reform process aimed at tackling these challenges — a process that has so far managed to eschew the extremes of authoritarian stagnation and violent revolution seen elsewhere.”
- Building a Ruling Coalition. Three days after the results were in, per the 2011 Constitutional reform that requires the King to name the Prime Minister from the majority party in Parliament, King Mohammed VI appointed PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane to a second term. It is now up to Benkirane to form a new coalition government.
- Pushing Administrative Reform. Though the coalition has yet to be confirmed, King Mohammed VI wasted no time in advising the newly elected parliamentarians on their duties to the citizens, delivering a pointed speech at the official opening of Parliament’s new legislative session. The King enumerated several areas where citizens have voiced frustration, including “expropriation issues, either because the State did not compensate them for their property, or because the compensation process took many years and was, therefore, detrimental to their interests”; “long and complex judicial procedures as well as the failure to enforce sentences, particularly against government institutions”; and “the complexity of procedures and long delays in delivering administrative documents”; among other examples. He urged that “special attention should be given to staff training”; that “e-government services should be offered across the board… to facilitate quick citizen access to services”; and insisted on “the need to develop and adopt an advanced administrative devolution charter that fits the requirements of the current situation.” For more on the speech, check out our release.
- FLOTUS’s Morocco Outreach Continues. Last week, CNN Films released “We Will Rise,” which documents First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent visit to Morocco and Liberia on a mission to improve girls education around the world through her Let Girls Learn initiative. Marking the occasion, 44 young women from both countries traveled to the US as part of a State Department exchange program; and on October 13, Mrs. Obama published an op-ed on CNN.com in tandem with the release of the film.
- COP22 Prep Continues. The US State Department announced last week that US Special Envoy for Climate Change Dr. Jonathan Pershing will travel to Morocco October 16-20 to participate in a ‘pre-COP’ conference hosted by the Government of Morocco. The conference is the last preparatory session in advance of COP22, which will take place on November 7-18 in Marrakesh.
COP-22, dubbed the “COP of Implementation and Action” by the Government of Morocco, will highlight major climate successes achieved this year and showcase global action as nations turn toward implementation of the Paris Agreement. COP-22 will provide a forum for actors at all levels to come together, share what they are doing, learn from each other and continue to encourage each other to do more.