Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transparency and Monitoring of the Moroccan Elections

Morocco's special accreditation commission has approved the final list of national and international organizations that will supervise the 25th of November legislative elections in Morocco.

The National Human Right Council in Morocco (CNDH) has indicated that the list includes 16 organizations and a total of around 400 observers.

On a national level, twelve organizations have been accredited: the Election Supervisory Association, CNDH, the Individual Rights Centre, the Moroccan Democratic Civil Forum, the Alkarama Forum for Human Rights, the Moroccan Human Rights Institute, the Youth Alliance for Reforms, the Urban Initiative Association, the Chourouk Centre for Democracy, Information and Human Rights, the Federation of the Democratic League of Women's Rights, the Women's Creativity Association and the Touiza Association.

Four international NGOs have been accredited: the National Democratic Institute, Gender Concerns International and The International Research Group for Trans-regional and Emerging Area Studies.

The commission has announced that it has “rejected a number of applications by organizations that did not comply with the conditions set by law 30.11 about independent and neutral observation of elections”.

In addition to teams of national observers that are expected to be present in the field, the elections will undergo international scrutiny, notably from the Europeans. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) say that the legislative elections of the 25th of November are set to be perfectly transparent.

The PACE delegation, headed by Tomas Jirsa, a Czech Senator, has already visited Morocco in order to prepare for the elections. The visit, which started on November 9th, came within an agreed framework for the observation of Morocco's legislative elections. Following the delegation’s pre-electoral visit, the PACE, which has already participated in the observation of 140 electoral events, will deploy up to twenty observers to oversee Moroccan polls.

The PACE, comprising 318 members of parliament from the 47 Council of Europe member states, has granted, earlier this year, the status of 'Partner for Democracy' to the Moroccan parliament as part of a move aiming at establishing institutional co-operation with parliaments of non-member states in neighbouring regions.


In addition, the Moroccan Human Rights Association (OMDH) recently created a website to serve as an online monitoring centre for the elections.

 Launched on September 26th in a trial version, is a platform that enables people to find information on the elections. More importantly, it allows citizens and observers to monitor the vote by reporting and learning about incidents, failures or irregularities associated with the election process. Reporting can be done via a number of methods including Twitter, email and sms.

The full site is now up and ready for the poll.

 "This year, given the changes occurring across the region and the importance of the internet as a citizenship tool, we decided to explore digital technology and new media," said Mounir Bensalah, an observer and member of the Marsad team.

 More specifically, the website will enable local OMDH observers to gather, process and check information. "It's also a special tool that offers better and wide coverage of the country by encouraging citizens to get involved in the observation process," Bensalah added.

The initiative draws on the experience of similar projects in several countries around the world, such as the Kenyan site The Kenyan civic monitoring website was launched in the aftermath of the bloodshed that followed the 2008 presidential elections.

 The Marsad project arose out of feedback from the OMDH and civil-society groups, which have monitored elections in Morocco since 2002.

The Masad website in French, English and Arabic, is here: MARSAD.MA


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