Loss in Legislative Elections, Islamists in Morocco Resign

Morocco’s ruling Islamist group Thursday announced their collective resignation after expressing shock at the bitter defeat in legislative elections.

“The Executive Committee takes full responsibility for the government in this period. All members, including the secretary general, decided to submit their resignation collectively,” said Slimane Armani, First Deputy Secretary General of the PJD Islamic Justice and Development Party.

He added that the party considered the results of the legislative elections “incomprehensible and illogical.”

According to legislative election results announced Thursday, the PJD lost to the National Rally of Independents (RNI), a party run by a billionaire who is seen as having close ties to the kingdom.

When nearly all the ballots had been counted, the Interior Ministry said the RNI won 97 of the 395 seats in the lower house of parliament.

The PJD, which has led Morocco since 2011, won just 12 seats, down from 125 it won in the 2016 election.

PJD said there was fraud in voting and excessive use of money to buy candidates and the media.

Furthermore, the PJD party stated that its candidates had been pressured, especially those in rural areas, not to run.

Saad-Eddine El Othmani, Prime Minister and chairman of Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) speaks at the party headquarters accompanied by Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid (left) party member Mohamed Yatim (right) in Rabat on March 21, 2017.

Saad-Eddine El Othmani, Prime Minister and chairman of Morocco’s Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) speaks at the party headquarters accompanied by Justice Minister Mustapha Ramid (left) party member Mohamed Yatim (right) in Rabat on March 21, 2017.

Morocco has banned polls from taking place in the run-up to the election, making the outcome of the election difficult to predict.

Under the country’s constitution, the king appoints the prime minister of the party that wins the most seats; who would then form a government.

Overall the role of parliamentarians is limited by the powers of King Mohammed VI, who oversees strategic decision-making in Morocco, which is a key ally of the West in fighting extremism and shaping migration from Africa to Europe. [em/lt]

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