Morocco's First Election since 2011 Constitutional Reform Sees Strong Turnout, Increase in Seats for Women

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - September 08, 2015) - On September 4, Moroccans went to the polls in the first regional and local elections since the Constitutional reform of 2011. This was also the first election since the creation of the country's roadmap to advanced regionalization, devolving power to the local and regional level -- and the first that empowered citizens to directly elect representatives to their regional councils.

In a speech to the nation on King and People's Revolution Day on August 21, King Mohammed VI called on Moroccans to support the "new revolution" of regionalization by exercising their right to vote. "…Voting is a right and a national duty, a major responsibility that has to be shouldered," he said. "It is a tool in your hands… In short, the citizens' power to protect their interests, find solutions to some of their problems, hold their representatives accountable and replace them, can be summarized in one word: 'vote.'" Moroccans responded with a strong turnout of nearly 54 percent overall, and an even higher percentage -- nearing 80 percent in some cities and towns -- in the southern provinces.

Two main opposition parties -- the Party of Authenticity and Modernity and Istiqlal -- prevailed in the local councils and in more rural areas, taking 37 percent of the vote between them, while the ruling Justice and Development party fared best in the regional councils -- and major urban areas -- with 25 percent of the regional council votes. Nearly half of the roughly 31,000 seats up for election overall were won by first-time candidates; and women candidates doubled their elected seats since the last local and regional elections to more than 6,600.

"King Mohammed VI urged his people to vote to further regionalization -- a revolution for Morocco. Empowering citizens by devolving power to the local and regional level is a key step in the country's long process of liberalization. The US is fortunate to have a partner in the region with such a demonstrated commitment to democracy," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel.

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran