Morocco faces serious challenges in 2015

Morocco faces serious challenges in 2015
4 min read
05 Jan, 2015
Rabat has to re-energise its democratic reforms to make the country work for all Moroccans.
Parliament listens to King Muhammad VI's address [Getty]

As we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015, we can only dream of a year better than the previous one, of a Morocco and an Arab world that are better off than they were in the previous year. We can only dream of better policies than the ones we have seen and of a better society, one that is alive, active and awake.

There are many challenges Morocco must face and concerns it must address, both socially and politically. They all await smart solutions and effective programs, satisfactory compromises and bold decisions. The most important challenge is that of democracy, ie: laws that govern policies, decision-making and governmental institutions, constitutionally and in accordance with the spirit of those who took to the streets in the Arab Spring.

Are we interested in deepening the path towards the country's democratic transition and building on the constitutional, political and cultural progress achieved after 20 February 2011?

Forwards or backwards?

There are many challenges Morocco must face and concerns it must address, both socially and politically.

Do we want the clock to go back instead, bringing back the regime of soft tyranny and crude corruption? This question concerns everyone and all are responsible, to varying degrees, for nurturing the fledgling democratic experience in the country.

The Palace is responsible for protecting this Moroccan exception, so it isn't pulled into the trenches with other states that have led counter-revolutions against the winds of change and reform brought on by the Arab Spring.

The current Islamist-led government is responsible for protecting the gains in the kingdom and not falling into the trap of swapping their principles for ministerial positions and the privileges that come with authority.

The opposition is responsible for protecting the young democratic experience by not dragging the Islamists into an ideological battle that divides society into secular and fundamentalist elements, instead of dividing it into conservative and progressive, democratic and authoritarian, or leftist and liberal.

Divisions and differences in politics are a normal part of democracy, but the divisions surrounding religion, creed, caste and identity only lead to civil war.

There is no real stability without democracy. This is an established principle, hundreds of years old. No one is safe without widespread political participation, without putting in place reforms that take place around the clock.

The test ahead

Morocco faces a real test during 2015, and this test is manifest in its elections. Should they take place in a manner that is better than the previous ones, we will have advanced. However, should the elections take place in an atmosphere of cheating, rigging, the use of wealth and manipulating geographic divisions while cronies, dignitaries and election brokers manipulate the electorate, that is when the citizens should start to worry.

The elections are not merely a set of rules, procedures and safeguards. First and foremost, their transparency is the result of a political decision, which takes the form of a conviction, a vision and precise calculations for the future.

As they say in France, la France n avance que par des revolutions, "France does not advance without revolutions".

As for Morocco, a conservative country, we say that the country does not advance unless there is consensus between the Palace and the political parties, between the throne and the ballot box, between an inherited legitimacy and democratic legitimacy.

However, this consensus should be reform-oriented and focused on change, not on standing still. This remains the greatest challenge facing Morocco over the next year.

The divisions of religion, creed, caste and identity lead to civil war.

The second concern is addressing the plight of the poor and the have nots, and re-examining how resources are distributed. There is deep disarray in Moroccan society, a disarray that undermines Morocco's foundations.

During the plast 15 years, Morocco has seen great wealth, but this has not benefited the poor, or, for that matter, the state budget. Instead, the wealth poured into the large pockets of those in charge, while the poor were reduced to meaningless statistics.

But the poor are still human beings, they dream and they get angry. While they are patient now, they may not allow the rest to live in their secluded islands in the future. Today they are knocking at the door, screaming and wailing. Tomorrow, they will tear down the door and force their way inside.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.