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From Opposition to Puppet: Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development. A protest repressed, a journalist beaten, an artist detained, a newspaper censored, and an activist tortured.

From Opposition to Puppet: Morocco’s Party of Justice and Development

Sixteen months after what was hailed as a “landmark” constitutional referendum, and exactly one year after a new government was elected, like a broken record, headlines from Morocco continue to repeat themselves. When the announcement for the 25 November 2011 parliamentary elections was made, the February 20th Movement and its supporters quickly agreed to boycott––a decision rooted in the prediction that the elections would bring about no real change.

Morocco - reading

Morocco's second spring. There are cautionary tales in the Arab uprisings, as Syria has shown: not every revolution can be as successful as Tunisia's, not every aftermath is rosy.

Morocco's second spring

And then there are also questions raised about those places where revolution did not take place. Was it averted because there is wise and popular government, or has some kind of social shock merely been postponed? Last year Morocco seemed for a while to be following the path of its eastern neighbours. Morocco, the Gulf and the media. An interesting item at Angry Arab — Aljazeera and Morocco: "Yassine sent met this: "So al-Jazeera decided not to air the documentary on Morocco and the 20th of February Movement (nuqta sakhina), which they had been promoting for more than a week.

Morocco, the Gulf and the media

Why not? Again? (In November the same thing happened (back then the al-Jazeera crew was forbidden to go to Tanger and the al-Hoceima area: two centers of the Moroccan uprising). The Moroccan king recently 'gave' the Qatari emir some 4 5.000 hectares (=450 km²) in the Guelmim area so that the Qatari emir could go hunt there. A Year After: The February 20 Protest Movement in Morocco. On the one-year anniversary of the February 20 protest movement in Morocco, (henceforth referred to as Feb. 20), the kingdom boasts relatively meager political progress.

A Year After: The February 20 Protest Movement in Morocco

Despite the much-vaunted reforms and constitutional changes, Morocco has reinvigorated its state edifice, managed to outmaneuver an inexperienced Feb. 20 protest movement, and engaged in a crackdown on freedom of the press and speech. In the last couple of weeks, the regime has arrested three Moroccans for crimes against his majesty’s person and “defaming Morocco’s sacred values.” In a country where the monarch is inviolable, the use of cartoons depicting the king is considered an outrage to a symbol of the country. More importantly, a year after the initial mass protests, we need to assess the record of the movement in terms of appeal and success in Morocco. King Hassan of Morocco and the Queen.

Morocco - curators...

Creating Space for Independent Political Action in Morocco. Less than a block from the seventeenth-century walls that surround Rabat’s medina (old city) is the Association Tamaynut.

Creating Space for Independent Political Action in Morocco

Inside the three-room office one can attend meetings, listen to lectures and participate in passionate discussions. A young man, Ibrahim, is there every weekday from morning until night. One of Morocco’s many thousand unemployed college graduates, he spends his free time doing volunteer work that he finds gratifying. Having a Conversation on Other Terms: Gender and the Politics of Representation in the New Moroccan Government. The recent parliamentary elections in Morocco have led to the creation of the first ever elected Islamist government in Morocco’s history.

Having a Conversation on Other Terms: Gender and the Politics of Representation in the New Moroccan Government

After winning more than forty percent of the votes in the November 25th elections, the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) led by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane formed a coalition government with the socialist Parti du Progrès et du Socialisme (PPS), the nationalist Istiqlal party and the royalist Mouvement Populaire (MP). Benkirane’s first task as Prime Minister was to form the government by appointing ministers. After much speculation and many rumors in the press and social media, Benkirane finally introduced his cabinet on January 3, 2012 at the royal palace in Rabat where he was summoned by King Mohammed VI.

The newly formed government is surprising in some respects but predictable in others. Morocco's coming elections pose a litmus test. After Tunisia's historic election, it is now Morocco's turn to gear up for early polls and try to replicate that dramatic achievement in democracy.

Morocco's coming elections pose a litmus test

Such a feat will naturally be hard to pull off in Morocco where the population is not as motivated to vote as it was in Tunisia. Pluralities are still skeptical that the election will bring change they can believe in. Morocco's Next Government: New Actors, Same Script. Several weeks have passed since Morocco’s most recent parliamentary elections.

Morocco's Next Government: New Actors, Same Script

These yielded a victory for the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD), whose leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, has been appointed as prime minister (or, as the recent constitution dictates, “Chief of Government”). Benkirane’s first task is to form a new government in conjunction with the Istiqlal Party, the Popular Movement, and the Party of Progress and Socialism, who together comprise a ruling coalition. Ibn Kafka's obiter dicta – divagations d'un juriste marocain en liberté surveillée.