September 10, 2007
Morocco: Quick Reflexions on Not Quite A Spanish Democracy
A quick reflexion on the Moroccan elections that are without any doubt a disaster for the "emerging Spanish style democracy" image pimped for (and sometimes by) Morocco, which 'Aqoul via our good amigo Ibn Kafka (who I hope we will welcome at 'Aqoul in a not distant future, at least no more distant than rumours of postings on Infidel) has done I think yoeman service in 'covering' as it were. Before my own thoughts, as a running dog of capitalism, Anglo Saxon foreigner blah blah, a quick and useful summary of our election backgrounders.
- Sept 8: Morocco's elections: Money, personalisation of politics and public disaffection
- Sept 7: Rock-bottom turnout in Morocco's general elections (NB: yours truly retracts initial reaction as wrong, wrong wrong)
- Sept 7: When even MEMRI has doubts... (slightly unfair I would say, but Ibn Kafka had a point)
- Sept 6: A candidate above all suspicion (Palace man as "independent" candidate... the grotesquely structured domestic media commentary via the sats post-election does remind one that Morocco, however much it has advanced, has not but a smidgen of critical journalism in re anything Palace)
- Sept 5: After Leb tarts and March 14, Moroccan babes and the PJD
- Aug 29: Preview of the Moroccan elections, Part III
- Aug 22: Preview of the Moroccan elections, Part II
- Aug 19: Preview of the Moroccan elections, Part I
Well, let me add my own note about the mercantile perspective on PJD pre election. Also for those of you with a smidgen of linguistic aptitude, Ibn Kafka's extended post-election note is worth reading. And for the rest of you, well get a bloody translator.
In fact, having summarised that, I am all shagged out. Or rather, have real work to do. As such, I shall point to The Financial Times' worthy article which makes the main point that at a feeble 37% turnout of registered voters (never mind the what, third or more?, that did not bother to register) this election, and the general lack of interest raised, the spanky image of a Morocco that is building a Spanish style democratic evolution (or a British style or whatever semi-abusive analogy is chosen) has taken a good (and deserved) whack.
Update: Among the most remarkable items from looking at the details is the report of over 1 million blank votes - that is people that bothered to vote, but voted in protest by a blank ballot saying in effect "none of the above."
I knew quite a few people in Morocco who told me they were going to do so - usually of the more secular background who couldn't quite bring themselves to vote PJD but are thoroughly sick of the really quite transparent and clumsy shenanigans that has been "Palace democracy."
There is in this an enormous danger to the core of the Monarchy and the sort of "new line" that emerged w "M6" - a danger that I am afraid (as Ibn Kafka noted) the Makhzen is blind to, being singularly talented in self-deception.
Now, my quick reflexion is very good. It deserved a good whack, as the Palace's increasing intervention in various spheres, as in e.g. booting the highly successful President of the largest bank in the country (ahem, controlling shareholding, Royal Family, via impressively opaque, even Italianesque structures) for ... well... telling the Palace cronies to fuck off more or less. I shall not comment much further on these things, other than to say that one has the impression that certain people in the Palace, perhaps including jet skiers, have gotten the impression that copying Dubai mais a la francaise, is a good idea.
It certainly is not, for reasons multiple including Morocco hasn't the petrol dollar flows to disguise / bridge over bad decision making that Dubai can motivate.
In the near term, I am not much of a believer in "democracy" magically emerging in region, not in Morocco and not elsewhere. However democratic evolution and more liberal economics with enough political liberalism thrown in to push back the cronyism, well that's something that can happen and will help see an emergence of democracy eventually.
Faux democracy and whanking on, not so much so.
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You're right about one thing - even a commie - (c) Shaheen - like me accepts that in the face of cronyism, there's nothing like free-market...
As for the blank votes, they are at about 20% of votes cast, slightly more than the 17% of blank votes cast in 2002. There's always been a very high rate of blank votes in Morocco - even in Basri's groomed elections of the 90's.
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at September 10, 2007 11:53 AM