Mon, Sep 07, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Ruling party wins key urban posts in Moroccan elections

Reuters, RABAT

Morocco’s ruling Muslim party won most of the country’s key cities during Friday’s local elections, further expanding its reach after four years of leading a coalition government that undertook major fiscal reforms.

The Justice and Development party, known by its French acronym PJD, came to power on an anti-corruption ticket in 2011, tapping into a desire for greater freedom when Arab Spring protests forced King Mohammed to devolve some royal powers.

On Friday, for the first time in its history, the party won control of all of Morocco’s major cities, including Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Fez, Marrakesh and Agadir.

Meanwhile, its rivals fielded more candidates and performed more strongly in rural areas.

Election results showed the PJD won 5,021 local or 174 regional assembly seats, just behind rivals Authenticity and Modernity Party, with 6,655 local and 132 regional seats, and conservative Independence Party with 5,106 local and 119 regional seats.

The PJD has long portrayed itself as a fighter against the old guard that has controlled politics and economy since Morocco gained independence in 1956.

During its years in power, the PJD-led coalition made structural reform, in particular in the realm of public finance, a priority, cutting Morocco’s budget deficit, undertaking the reform of a cumbersome subsidy system and freezing public sector jobs.

“Since 1960, for the first time a key party wins elections in the big cities,” Maati Monjib, a historian and political scientist in the university of Rabat said. “Although the PJD was against the Arab spring protests, they have taken advantage of it by presenting themselves as opponents from inside the system.”

Turnout was 53.67 percent, almost the same as in the last local elections in 2009.

This story has been viewed 1564 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top