Moroccan Youth and the Upcoming Elections

Moroccan Youth and the Upcoming Elections


[symple_box]said el-barazi Said El-Barazi is a youth activist currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics at the English department in the faculty of Letters and Human sciences at the University of Mohamed the First Oujda. [/symple_box]

Oujda, Morocco- Probably, one of the most discussed subjects among Moroccans these days is the upcoming elections of next September, and by extension many Moroccans wonder whether the youth will finally break their silence and take their voices to the polls to shoehorn their demands. It is indeed an interesting forecast for many, but to me, and given the low percentage of youth turnout witnessed in the last elections, I see the next one a reminiscence of the former one, another déjà vu.

Most Moroccan youth believe that change will never come, due to the successive disappointment witnessed vis-à-vis various governments that took the reins of power since independence. When the Islamic-oriented party of Justice and Development (PJD), headed by the current head of government Mr. Abdellilah Benkirane, came to power, their promises were big and bright, yet the sad reality is that they were only talking the talk, and never walked the walk. For the youth, the Islamists were the last breed of trial, and now they say, if the Islamists can’t change things then nobody can.

Another factor that hinders youth involvement in policy making is the wide spread corruption witnessed in Morocco. In 2012, our country ranked as the tenth most corrupt country in a ranking that included eighteen other Arab countries [GISWATCH report]. The mainstream mentality among Moroccan youth believe that even if corrupt officials are caught red-handed and get replaced, the next to take the relay will ultimately follow the footsteps of his predecessor, and change can never come unless there is a drastic revolution in the Moroccan mentality, as for most Moroccans, it is so normal to give a bribe to officials. This leads to a sense of estrangement and hopelessness, which ultimately keeps the youth far away from the political sphere.

In Morocco, a change will only occur if youth rise and unite to fight for their rights and establish a real political representation among the Moroccan political spectrum, far away from all corrupt politicians and parties. To my eyes, this will only happen if youth participate in mass in the upcoming elections, not as voters but as candidates.