Morocco sets early legislative election Nov. 25

AP News
Posted: Aug 16, 2011 10:57 AM
Morocco sets early legislative election Nov. 25

Morocco has scheduled an early legislative election on Nov. 25 as part of the king's pledge for democratic reforms, in response to a push for greater freedoms across the Arab world.

Interior Minister Taieb Cherkaoui announced the date, the official MAP news agency reported Tuesday.

The current parliament was expected to serve until late 2012, but the election was pushed forward as part of democratic reforms spearheaded by King Mohammed VI.

The North African kingdom has seen frequent protests over the past months, with demonstrators calling for new a parliamentary election and constitutional reforms.

A secular party close to the king won the most seats the last parliamentary election, in September 2007, despite expectations that the Islamist PJD party would dominate the vote. Fear of the unknown appeared to trump the anti-corruption, antiestablishment message of the PJD, or Justice and Development Party.

The new election date is seen as a compromise between parties who wanted the vote as soon as October and those who wanted more time to prepare.

"The date is not very important. What is fundamental is the contents and the conditions of the voting," said Nabil Benabdellah, head of the PPS party.

He expressed hope that the election would produce "new, credible institutions with new political elites."

Moroccans last month overwhelmingly approved a new constitution championed by the monarch. Some opposition groups boycotted the referendum on the new constitution, saying it didn't go far enough to free up Moroccan politics.

Young protesters from the February 20 movement continue to gather each weekend and hold peaceful demonstrations demanding more social justice and a crackdown on corruption.