DISCOUNT. A change of government is imminent in Morocco: According to the preliminary count, the moderate Islamists of the PJD party, who have been in power since 2011, recorded massive losses in the parliamentary elections. The winner of the election, overshadowed by vote-buying allegations, is the liberal Independent National Assembly (RNI), followed by the PAM (also liberal). King Mohammed VI must now choose the new head of government from the ranks of the RNI.
The previously ruling PJD only had twelve MPs, as Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit announced. Before that, it was the strongest force with 125 mandates. The RNI emerged as the strongest force in the ballot with 97 seats, followed by the equally liberal Party for Honesty and Modernity (PAM) with 82 MPs.
At the head of the RNI is the businessman Aziz Akhannouch, King Mohammed VI. should be close. The former head of government Abdelilah Benkirane recently attacked Akhannouch sharply and demanded that the government should be headed by a “personality of integrity”. Akhannouch already played an important role in the previous government, as he controlled the economic, finance and industry ministries.
At just over 50 percent, voter turnout was significantly higher than in the parliamentary elections five years ago. At that time, only 43 percent of those entitled to vote had cast their vote. One reason for the greater interest is likely to be that, for the first time, regional and local elections were held at the same time.
Morocco has had a new constitution since 2011, which grants parliament and government much more far-reaching powers than before. However, decisions and instructions in key areas continue to be made by the king.