Parliamentary Elections : Big Setback For Morocco’s Ruling Party
Out of the 395 seats, the Justice and Development Party grabbed only 12 in the Wednesday September 8, 2021 polls.
Moroccans have witnessed an unprecedented political revolution in a decade following the crushing defeat of the ruling party, Justice and Development (PJD), in Parliamentary elections by their rivals, National Rally of Independents (NRI), in Parliamentary elections. According to provisional results announced by the interior minister, the Justice and Development Party saw its number of seats drop from 125 seats to just 12, far behind its main liberal opponents, the National Rally of Independents, the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), and the centre-right Istiqlal Party (PI).
Amongst NRI members, celebrations were going on nationwide when it was announced by election officials that the party won at least 97 seats, so far the highest among the parties that contested the polls. PAM ranked second with 82 seats closely followed by PI with 78. The results were announced early on Thursday, September 9, 2021, forty-eight hours after the voting took place with the turnout said to be around 50%.
New voting rules made it harder for bigger parties to win as many seats as before, something analysts said cost the moderate PJD, which has been the biggest party in the past two parliaments. Despite having been the largest party since 2011, the PJD has failed to stop laws it opposes, including one to bolster the French language in education and another to allow cannabis for medical use. The new voting rules, were seen by PJD leaders as having been introduced specifically to target their majority share, because it changed the way seats are allocated. Morocco is officially a constitutional monarchy, but the King holds sweeping powers. He picks the Prime Minister from the party that wins the most seats in the 395-member Parliament and appoints key ministers. The palace also sets the economic agenda for the 37 million people and commissioned a development model that the new government is asked to implement.