|Party||Total seats||% of seats||Seat change since 2007|
|Justice and Development Party||107||27.1%||+61|
|National Rally of Independents||52||13.2%||+13|
|Authenticity and Modernity Party||47||13.2%||+47|
|Social Union of Popular Forces||39||11.9%||+1|
|Party of Progress and Socialism||18||5.8%||+1|
|Party of Renewal and Equity||2||0.5%||-2|
|Democratic and Social Movement||2||0.5%||-7|
|Environment and Development Movement||2||0.5%||-3|
|Democratic Oath Party||2||0.5%||+2|
|Front of Democratic Forces||1||0.3%||-8|
|Union of Democracy Party||1||0.3%||+1|
|Party of Liberty and Social Justice||1||0.3%||+1|
|Green Left Party||1||0.3%||+1|
In reaction to events that occurred in the Arab Spring in fellow Arab countries, such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen, Morocco’s leader King Mohammed ceded some political power to avoid any spillover effect from the uprisings, prior to an election originally scheduled for 2012. In an effort to avoid an uprising in his own country, King Mohammed handed over more power to the government of Morocco. However, he continues to retain the final say on issues of the economy, security and religion.
Part of the handing over process was to hold urgent Parliamentary elections in a free and fair environment. The result was the peaceful November 25 election where a record 13.6-million Moroccans voted for a new legislature, despite calls for a boycott from a minority group known as the February 20th Movement
The moderate Islamist group, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), achieved the majority of the Parliamentary seats, winning 107 of the total 325. Although the PJD won the highest majority out of any party, it does not hold an outright majority in the House, indicating that it will have to enter into a coalition government with certain opposition parties. The PJD garnered 27.1% indicating that to pass legislation, it will have to enter into an alliance with other parties to promote its agenda.
To achieve this majority, the PJD plans to join forces with the nationalist Istiqal Party and the left-wing Socialist Union of Popular Forces.
The Justice and Development Party
The PJD has modelled itself on Turkey’s ruling party, which uses the same name and are considered to be moderate in nature as a Muslim party that respects the secularist ideology. The party is committed to internal democracy and says it will respect civil liberties and women’s rights within the country.
The PJD punts educational reform in Morocco, economic partnerships with other States (especially Arab and Muslim States), greater investment and an enhancement of democracy and human rights.
The Moroccan legislature is bicameral and is divided into the Chamber of Counselors and the Chamber of Representatives. The 270 members of the Chamber of Counselors are elected by indirect vote to serve nine-year terms. These members are elected by local councils, professional organisations and labour federations. 50 additional seats were added to the Chamber of Councillors since the 2007 Parliamentary election, totalling 395 seats.
Two-hundred-and-ninety-five members within the Chamber of Representatives are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system, from 95 multiseat constituencies, to serve five-year terms, while the remaining 30 members are reserved for women who also serve five-year terms. It is this chamber of the legislature that Moroccans recently voted for.
The King is the hereditary head of State who has the power to appoint the Prime Minister, generally from the majority party in the Chamber of Representatives.
New Prime Minister
In the wake of the election and the confirmation of the make-up of the new parliament, King Mohammed appointed PJD secretary general Abdelilah Benkirane as the country’s new Prime Minister.
Benkirane and his new government face a number of challenges going forward. The most immediate is to tackle the social and economic problems Morocco currently faces. In an attempt to remedy the country’s burgeoning unemployed youth problem, Benkirane has promised to introduce a training fund to help 100 000 young people upskill themselves to enter the economy, as well as to increase the national minimum wage to dh3 000 (US$360).
The incoming Prime Minister has also recognised the need to fight corruption in the country, by saying that he will fill his cabinet based on merit and not necessarily just with members of his own party.
The Moroccan electorate voted the PJD into power because they expected change. Benkirane is aware of this; however, he is under no illusion of the enormity of the challenges that face him. In a regional context, the incoming government will be aware that they should never take advantage of a politicised youth anxious to see improvements in their social and economic situation.
African Bulletin. Morocco: Poll turnout reached a record high of 45% despite boycott calls (November 25, 2011).
International Foundation for Electoral Services. Country profile: Morocco (December 01, 2011).
Magharebia. Morocco reflects on election results (November 29, 2011).
Polity. Moderate Islamists claim Moroccan election win (November 28, 2011).
Polity. Morocco king names moderate Islamist as new PM (November 29, 2011).
The World. From persecuted to power: Morocco’s Islamist party sweeps elections (November 29, 2011).