By Siham Ali
Just a few weeks before Morocco’s early legislative elections, eight Moroccan parties joined forces to create the new “Coalition for Democracy”.
The National Rally of Independents (RNI), the Constitutional Union, the Party of Authenticity and Modernity, the Popular Movement, the Party of Renaissance and Virtue, the Labour Party, the Socialist Party and the Green Left united to press for common goals ahead of the November 25th poll.
Morocco needs coalitions based not on ideology but on a social plan that lives up to the nation’s expectations, especially given the current political climate, characterised by a weak global economy and the Arab Spring, RNI President Salaheddine Mezouar said at a press conference held to announce the new coalition on Wednesday (October 5th).
“It’s an alliance that intends to address the changes that Morocco is going through and the domestic and external challenges by transcending partisan egotism. It is based not on ideology, but on our shared desire to build a modern Morocco”, he stated.
The new coalition espouses a number of common values including diversity of identity and moderate Islam, according to Abdelkrim Benatiq, secretary-general of the Labour Party. In his view, it takes courage to pursue a truly modernist social plan.
The current situation makes it necessary to create a new movement, according to the general secretary of the Party of Authenticity and Modernity.
“We need to deal with the current challenges. The far-reaching changes in North Africa and Arab countries require new ways of running domestic affairs and managing regional relations,” he said.
Among other things, the alliance says it wants to guarantee civil rights, tackle social and regional inequalities, achieve a fair distribution of wealth, step up the pace of economic growth and make Morocco more outward-looking, especially with regard to the development of the Maghreb.
The announcement of the alliance came as a big surprise. Members of the public have expressed astonishment, underlining that it was “unnatural”, and were doubtful as to the coalition’s true intentions.
Law student Salima Omari said that Moroccans fervently want to see the political arena streamlined in order to improve the way in which the country is run.
However, “this alliance of eight parties that have no ideological links, just a few weeks away from the elections, seems bizarre. We will see whether these parties will be able to put together a joint programme that meets young people’s expectations,” she said.
Hakim Draoui, a bank clerk, shares this view and says that pre-election alliances are a very good way of giving voters a clear choice, but they also have to be logical and based on a genuine desire for change.
The eight parties in the alliance insist that they are acting in good faith. Labour Party leader Benatiq said that Morocco needs to leave the usual approach to alliances behind by daring to forge links that serve the national interest rather than electoral ambitions.