Morocco's Ruling Islamists in Resignation Crisis

Published August 18th, 2021 - 06:54 GMT
new wave of redignation at PJD groups
Moroccan PM Abdelilah Benkirane speaks at PJD meeting in Sale on 6 October (AFP)
More than 45 members of the PJD submitted their resignations.

The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) members and leaders in the Safi region in Morocco have resigned to the regional secretariat of the party, in a move that confirms divisions within the party and threatens the unity of PJD ahead of the municipal and legislative elections scheduled for September 8.

More than 45 members of the PJD, including presidents and communal advisers belonging to the provincial secretariats, made the move. Among them is Abdeljalil El Badaoui, chairman of the Safi municipal council, also founder of the party in the region. 

The wave of resignations came said one of those who quit, because of “organisational dysfunctions, following the change made by the central leadership of the party at the level of the electoral lists, by the designation of the president of the communal council as head of the regional elections list instead of third on the list which will contest the legislative ones.”

The party’s regional secretariat  (the regional branch of the Central Command) confirmed receiving a petition with a list of signatories. It put out a statement saying it was surprised by the presence of some names on the petition, including some former members who had left the party or others who had previously submitted their resignations,” stressing that “some of those who signed the petition were already preparing to join other political parties, in order to run on their lists during the upcoming elections.”

The regional secretariat also considered those who initiated the petition had adopted a “deceptive method” to lure some members into signing. This, regional secretariat said, was based on “false information, according to some of the signatories.”

Rachid Lazrak, a professor of political science, told The Arab Weekly “the PJD leaders are defending their interests and their electoral position. What is happening now is the consequence of the party’s organisational and political crises at various levels.”

Lazrak also noted that “the focus is now on the leaders and sheikhs of the Tawheed and Islah group, who will urge the rebellious parties to sit at the dialogue table as the only way out of the crisis.”

Badaoui had earlier objected to his removal from a local list for the municipal and legislative elections, following his unprecedented defeat in the elections for professional chambers , to be replaced by someone who owns a driving school.

Informed sources told The Arab Weekly that “Badaoui has been marginalised by the party, especially as he is being pursued before the Financial Crimes Court in Marrakesh on heavy charges related to the forgery of an official document as well as the squandering of public funds.”

The PJD, which heads the government coalition, has been hit by a wave of resignations ahead of the municipal and legislative elections, which portends a poor performance for the party.

Members of the PJD in the province of Agadir Idawtanan in southern Morocco had earlier expressed their rejection of the parliamentary, regional and local nomination lists for the Agadir commune, decrying a lack of transparency.

In a letter to Secretary-General Saad Eddine El Othmani, party members in Agadir affirmed that the lack of transparency was happening on many levels, “to yield odd results that do not reflect the party’s principles and the spirit of the PJD’s democratic values.”

The head of the Awlad Fares al-Hilla group in the Borouj district of Settat province, his deputy and the local head of the Justice and Development Party had also submitted their individual resignations from the party’s structures, blaming organisational dysfunctions and the lack of cooperation among party members at the regional level.

Observers believe that personal interests have become a determinant in the selection of candidates for municipal and legislative elections, to maintain positions, privileges and multiple compensations. The resignations, prompted by divisions and disagreements between the leaders and members of the PJD, are also expected to exacerbate the party’s crisis.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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