They came to power in 2011 with the support of King Mohammad VI, under pressure from popular uprisings and wars in North Africa that had wiped out the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The Islamists of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) have reconfirmed their relative strong majority in the complex Moroccan political scene. In the legislative elections on Friday, the PJD party of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane won 125 of 395 seats in the House of Representatives, 18 more seats than in the last vote.
It’s a step forward, but the secular Authenticity and Modernity Party (WFP), formed in 2008 by Ilyas El Omari, an adviser to the king, also went up from 47 to 102 seats. The result wasn’t persuasive to the PJD, which complained of fraud, but the National Council for Human Rights ruled the elections mostly free and fair. In the background of the clash between Islamists and secularists, the situation in Western Sahara and the denial of the rights of the Sahrawi people was not discussed for most of the campaign.
The electoral system in Morocco dispelled the consensus among the 27 parties so that no political force is able to obtain an overwhelming majority. Within this framework, King Mohammad VI retains key powers with the new democratic “constitution” approved five years ago.