Morocco’s opposition struggles to pull together

Morocco

Published on Thursday, 26 May 2022 Back to articles

Morocco 2021 House of Representatives

The country’s political opposition is still flailing around and proving unable to serve any serious challenge to the government. Part of the problem is its size because the current ruling coalition parties swept the board — winning 270 of the 395 available seats in the September 2021 election — so the largest opposition party, the Union socialiste des forces populaires (USFP), only won 23 seats. 

The other big issue, however, is the opposition’s inability to pull together. The parties come from vastly divergent ideological camps, with the Socialists and the Islamists hardly seeing eye to eye on a whole range of issues. 

This month, however, the heads of the parliamentary teams of the USFP, Mouvement populaire (MP) and the Parti du progrès et du socialisme (PPS) — as well as the head of the former ruling Parti de la justice et du développement’s (PJD) political grouping which does not have sufficient seats to be registered as a team — tried to bring the opposition parties together in a reconciliation initiative.

They consulted with their party leaders on 12-13 May in the hope of finding a way for the opposition parties to work together to form a more effective front. These meetings were described by those involved as ‘successful’ but, in reality, they did not go anywhere. There has been no follow up since then and the prospect of any mechanism to work jointly beyond the remit of co-ordinating parliamentary business is receding fast. 

The main problem is still the fact that the parties and their leaders cannot pull together. There is particular animosity between the PJD’s leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, and the PPS. This has not been helped by Benkirane’s habit of attacking his fellow opposition leaders. He recently lashed out at the USFP, accusing it of being behind the blockage, which saw him fail to form a government in 2017. Such verbal assaults are doing little to bridge the gap between the parties. 

The opposition therefore looks doomed to remain weak and fragmented. This will be good news for the government, given that it is struggling harder than ever to deliver in what are increasingly challenging circumstances. 

This excerpt is taken from Morocco Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Morocco. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

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