Morocco: Local and Parliamentary Elections
Local and parliamentary elections in Morocco to form a government that faces the challenge of reducing the Kingdom's deep social inequality are underway.
Moroccans will cast their votes on Wednesday in the 2021 local and parliamentary elections held to form a new government amid questions on whether the Justice and Development Party will remain in power for a third term.
The statements made by the Party's Secretary-General, Abdelilah Benkirane, on the eve of the country's parliamentary elections, on his official Facebook page, caused great controversy.
In the statements, Benkirane accused his Party's major contender, the National Rally of Independents' candidate Aziz Akhannouch, of using funds to purchase followers and sympathizers.
Akhannouch, on the other hand, replied and called the statements "unimportant", before asserting that his Party has been under severe attacks for a while in order to make everyone concede defeat.
The general elections are set to lead to a new government, whose main challenge is to reduce the kingdom's deep social inequality by way of a "new development model," which also aspires to double the country's GDP by 2035.
Regardless of which party will win the elections and form the next government, all political parties are expected to accept a "national sustainable development strategy."
This strategy aims to change a climate of mistrust that has ruled the country because of the slowdown of economic growth and the rise of inequality, according to a report by the committee that put together the strategy's model.
Moroccan Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit said last Tuesday that the vote will be exclusively carried out by showing one's National ID.
The Hirak Rif Movement
In the last few years, a popular mass protest movement called the Hirak Rif Movement came into prominence, beginning in 2016 and 2017, with socio-economic demands. The protests led to tensions that resulted in the arrest and trial of hundreds of protesters.
Economic growth slowdown
People's low use of their social rights in health and education is one of the major aspects of inequality in the Kingdom, which aspires to include its 22 million citizens into the health plan by 2025. Social and health workers are unable to afford private healthcare, while public healthcare services are limited.
Education in Morocco is yet another obstacle, as reviews show that public school students are performing poorly, prompting middle-class parents to enroll their children in private schools, despite a decrease in the purchasing power, thus creating a need to enforce public schools.
The slowdown of economic growth over the past 10 years, compared to the last 20, is also a major reason for unemployment and is plagued by structural issues that need to be addressed, according to the report.