On Wednesday 8th of September Morocco will hold its legislative elections in order to decide who will lead the government for the next five years. The current government is led by the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which is heading the government for a second term after winning the 2011 and 2016 elections. Besides holding the legislative elections on the 8th of September, the government decided to hold the municipal and regional elections on the same day to increase voter turnouts. The municipal and regional elections will decide who will lead local and regional councils.
The PJD will again be participating in the elections. The second-largest party in parliament the right-wing Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) will also be participating, as well as the third and fourth largest parties the conservative Istiqal party and the liberal centre-right National Rally of Independents (NRI). There are no parties that are boycotting the elections.
PSU withdraws from the Federation of the Democratic Left
Early July Nabila Mounib decided to withdraw the United Socialist Party (PSU) from the Federation of the Democratic left. The coalition of the FGD, established in 2014, brought the USP together with the Socialist Democratic Vanguard Party (PADS) and the National Congress Party (CNI). United under the banner of the FGD, the three parties were to nominate joint candidates for the upcoming legislative elections.
The purpose of the coalition was to harmonize the parties’ agendas and work towards establishing a large left-wing party. Mounib stated that her decision to withdraw from the FGD was because within the FGD ‘’the concerns were not the same, and all the parties did not give the same interest to the project of the united left front’’. The decision to withdraw from the FGD does not have unanimous support within the USP. The PADS and CNI stated that the withdrawal of the PSU does not have a convincing justification.
One factor that can influence the outcome of the elections is a new electoral law that was adopted in March that changed how the quota of elected officials is calculated. Previously, the seats in parliament were determined based on the total number of valid ballots. Last year, this led to a major victory for the PJD who managed to collect 1,6 million votes out of a total of 5.8 million votes. This year the electoral quotient will be based on the total number of people who are eligible to vote, meaning people who subscribed to electoral lists, instead of on the number of people who actually vote.
With this new amendment, the denominator will become much larger, since the number of registered voters can be substantially larger than the number of valid ballots from people who actually go and vote. As a consequence, parties need to gain a much larger number of votes in order to meet the threshold to gain a seat. This means it will be harder for larger parties to gain more than one seat per voting district. Small parties, on the contrary, will have more chance of being rewarded with a seat. The amendment was supported by all parties except for the PJD. For PJD, the new law could mean a loss of their number of seats. For smaller parties, on the other hand, it offers opportunities to gain a seat in parliament.