With two days to go before Morocco elects a new parliament, it is feared widespread apathy could render to the result invalid. The government has launched an awareness campaign to try to rekindle voter enthusiasm, aiming for a turnout at least as large as the last election. But with Adl, Morocco’s largest opposition group not accepted as a legal party, its absence could make many voters stay at home.
That is expected to see the opposition moderate Islamists, the Justice and Development Party, (PJD), emerge as the largest single group. Its popularity has swelled, helped by an anti-corruption stance and the support of poor voters disenchanted with the 50-year rule of a modernising elite.
However, it will be almost impossible for the PJD to win an outright majority because the complex voting system encourages fragmentation. That could see it having to share power with a Socialist-led coalition of main parties, which has not sought to wrest control from King Mohammed, who combines roles as head of state, military chief and religious leader.
Even if the PJD makes dramatic gains, the king is unlikely to reward it with the prime minister’s job, a move that would create the first freely elected Islamist-led administration in an independent Arab country.