The first results though, surprised many of the observers who were expecting a significant increase in the number of seats for the ‘moderate’ Islamists of the PJD (Party of Justice and Development). One spokesman of the party said in an interview with Aljazeera that his party was struggling more against the money used by its opponents, than with opposite candidates themselves. He also referred to what he called “the negative neutrality” of the authorities in the face of such illegal use of money and influence. The Proto-nationalists of the Istiqlal, a party made up of rich businessmen and some notables and which can be described as conservative to some extent, came first “with 52 seats, ahead of the PJD with 47 seats and the regionalists of the Popular Movement with 43,” according to Aljazeera.net (2000GMT).
What wasn’t a surprise at all, is the atomized and fragmented political scene the elections have yielded. This scattered picture was planed and encouraged in advance by the regime. Remember that a record number of 33 parties were participating in the poll.So a question remains: It may sound legitimate or (rather) expected from a regime deeply rooted in Moroccan “tradition” of governing, to preserve itself and try to discredit whatever opponent might appear in the way. But is the repetition of the recipes of the past -and I mean the co-option of the opposition to discredit them in the eyes of the people and the attempts to weaken the recalcitrants-, is this still an intelligent strategy for the regime to preserve itself? As the cousin of the King, Prince Hicham said yesterday on the BBC, “there is a difference this time around: this will eventually have a cost; one can not repeat the same [mistakes] over and over again. Socialist and nationalist movements who have been waiting for decades, have been discredited by their participation in the government over [the last] ten years. It will be difficult to discredit again the PJD without paying a higher cost down the road. And the cost can be a very serious setback for the country and the monarchy itself.”
On the phenomenon of the personalization of politics in Morocco, read the first hand analysis of Ibn Kafka (a Moroccan affairs pundit, more recommended -as far as I’m concerned- than the official Moroccan press agency).