Monday, September 11, 2006

NGOs deem upper house elections 'comedy'

In an interesting footnote to the elections we have covered in previous posts, the online Morocco Times is reporting that some 20 Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have denounced as "crimes against democracy" what they called fraudulent practices that marred the elections to renew one third of the House of Advisors (upper house).

In a sit-in initiated by the Centre Marocain pour la Démocratie des Elections (CMDE), these NGOs described the elections, which took place on Friday September 8, 2006, as a "comedy featuring the corruption of parliamentary and political life,' and called for "revisiting, in form and in substance, the electoral process."

They also called, in a press release, for "the abolition" of what they described as a "corrupt house," (House of Advisors), as its only role, according to them, is to "slow down the pace of political change" in Morocco.

Participants in the sit-in urged the civil society and human rights organizations to hold a national colloquium to "sketch an action plan aiming to preserve our rights to democracy and democratic elections."

The renewal of one third of the upper house (90 seats) registered the candidacy of 523 contestants belonging to the college of the representatives of local communities and the representatives of professional chambers, and 114 candidates of employee representatives.

The Istiqlal (independence) Party won 17 seats, followed by the “Popular Movement” and the National Rally of Independents, 14 and 13 seats, respectively. All these parties, along with the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (11 seats) are represented in the government.

The rest of the seats went to different parties in the opposition and trade unions.


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