Volunteers were knocking on doors in the residential neighbourhood of Agdal in Rabat on Wednesday to drum up votes amid a political malaise that has gripped the country in recent years. The volunteers were members of the Democratic Leftist Federation, a coalition of groups headed by Nabila Mounib, leader of the Unified Socialist Party, running a campaign called “vivre ensemble”, or live together. “We abandoned politics because we didn’t trust anyone any more and we didn’t think elections could make a difference,” said Fouzia El Hamidi, 60, a member of the federation who wore a white shirt bearing the image of the yellow envelope symbol that represented the coalition. “We are running a campaign of transparency and honesty.” On Friday, Moroccans go to the polls to choose among 300,000 candidates from 36 parties for their local representatives. Among the frontrunners are the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which leads the country’s coalition government, and the Authenticity and Modernity Party, a group close to King Mohammed VI.
The federation’s get-out-the-vote efforts reflect a new urgency in Moroccan politics. In his August address to the nation, King Mohammed urged voters to take the elections seriously and reminded candidates of the importance of their task.
“There are elected officials who think that their role is to stand as candidates and not to work,” he said. “And when they win the votes, they disappear for five or six years and only reappear on the occasion of the next election.”
The king’s push has resulted in more Moroccans registering to vote. Sixty-three percent of the electorate is registered to vote. And whereas during the last election, voter turnout was about 45 percent, according to interior ministry figures, the turnout is expected to be slightly higher for this ballot.