Islamists suffer crushing defeat in Moroccan general elections

Photo: EPA Electoral officials wearing face masks wait for voters inside a polling station in Rabat, 8 September 2021.

Morocco's liberal RNI party has won most seats in the country's parliamentary elections followed by another liberal party, PAM, while co-ruling moderate PJD Islamists suffered a crushing defeat, preliminary results showed on Thursday, Reuters reported.

RNI, led by billionaire agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch, took 97 of the 395-seat parliament, followed by PAM with 82 seats and the conservative Istiqlal with 78 seats. The PJD, which had been a coalition partner in the previous two governments had only taken 12 seats after a count of 96% of all parliamentary seats.

The results show a massive turnaround in fortunes as the RNI had only won 37 seats at the last election in 2016, while the PJD took 125. RNI ministers controlled the key economic portfolios of agriculture, finance, trade and tourism in the outgoing government. Turnout in Wednesday elections improved to 50.3%, up from 43% in 2016, as Morocco held parliamentary and local elections on the same day.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy where the king holds sweeping powers in the North African country. He picks the prime minister from the party that won the most seats in parliament who will then form a cabinet and submits it for the King's approval.

The Palace has the last say on appointments concerning key departments including the interior, foreign affairs and defence.

New voting rules were expected to make it harder for bigger parties to win as many seats as before, which means the RNI will have to enter into coalition talks to form a government.

The palace also sets the economic agenda and has commissioned a development model country of 37 million people that the new government is being asked to implement.

In a statement on Wednesday, the PJD accused rivals of buying votes, without naming any or providing details.

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.

Similar articles

  • Israeli FM Lapid proposes Gaza development plan in exchange of calm

    Israeli FM Lapid proposes Gaza development plan in exchange of calm

    Israel's foreign minister Yair Lapid has proposed improving living conditions in Gaza in exchange for calm from the enclave's Hamas Islamist leaders, aiming to solve "never-ending rounds of violence" as the two sides exchanged fresh fire over the weekend, AFP reported. The plan, which includes infrastructure and employment benefits, aims to show Palestinians in the Israeli-blockaded enclave that Hamas's campaign of violence against Israel is "why they live in conditions of poverty, scarcity, violence and high unemployment, without hope", Yair Lapid said on Sunday.

    61
  • Morocco's king names billionaire Akhannouch as new PM

    Morocco's king names billionaire Akhannouch as new PM

    Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Friday named businessman Aziz Akhannouch to lead a new government after his National Rally of Independents (RNI) thrashed the long-ruling Islamists in parliamentary elections, AFP reported. The king appointed Akhannouch "head of the government and tasked him with forming a new government",

    86