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A wave of resignations hits Morocco's Islamist PJD formation

Up to 45 presidents and councillors of communities attached to the provincial secretariats of Marrakech, Safi and Essaouira presented their resignations to the regional committee of the political formation that leads the coalition government
Moroccan Prime Minister and leader of the PJD Saad Eddine El Othmani

AFP/FADEL SENNA  -   Moroccan Prime Minister and leader of the PJD Saad Eddine El Othmani

Morocco's Justice and Development Party (PJD) is going through a deep crisis, which has been reinforced by the massive resignations recently registered within the Islamist political party which, for the time being, is at the head of the Moroccan government, pending the next legislative elections in the North African country. 

45 presidents and councillors of communities linked to the provincial secretariats of the PJD in the cities of Marrakech, Safi and Essaouira jointly resigned from the party's regional secretariat. 

According to the daily Al-Ahdath and the media Le360, a confrontation between party leaders and members in the Marrakech-Safi region took place after this had also happened in other enclaves of the Alawi kingdom, showing the difficult situation of the party headed by the Moroccan government. 

Al-Ahdath indicated that the resignations came from communal councillors, presidents of groups belonging in this case to the provincial secretariats of Marrakech, Safi and Essaouira. Other resignations concerned members of the Moroccan National Labour Union (UNTM), the PJD's trade union body. 

According to the Moroccan media, the trigger for the mass resignations was allegedly the removal of Abdeljalil El Badaoui, president of the Safi Communal Council, from the party's electoral list for the upcoming communal and legislative elections.

As Al-Arab media also noted, the leaders resigned for what they called "organisational reasons, following the secretariat's removal of the head of the Safi local council".

Rueda de prensa del PJD con la presencia de Saad Eddine El Othmani
J. MORCHIDI (ANADOLU) - PJD press conference in the presence of Saad Eddine El Othmani

There are several prominent figures among the group of people who have resigned from the party. They include Said Arid, party member and national secretary of Islamic education teachers; Mohamed Fadi, deputy national secretary of the taxi sector; Youssef Amhili, adviser and trade union activist; and Abdelhadi Slimani, the PJD's local secretary and member of the regional council. 

These resignations could seriously affect voting intentions and reduce the PJD's chances in the next legislative elections on 8 September, as the party's rank and file could renounce the idea of returning their vote to the Islamist party. This mass resignation would weaken the party's electoral position, which would add to the multiple criticisms received for its recent management of the government. 

What is happening in Marrakech-Safi comes after problems in other regions such as Témara, Laayoune and Fez. In Témara, clashes arose over the appointment of Moh Rejdali as head of the PJD's electoral list in the locality. Meanwhile, in Fez, the protests were sparked by the appointment of Mohamed Harti as leader of the list in the north of Fez, as reported in Le360. 

In recent months, the party has seen many resignations, including members leaving for other parties, such as former leader Etmadi al-Zahidi, who joined the PJD's main opposition party, the National Rally of Independents. Al-Zahidi justified his departure due to what he described as an organisational failure of the Islamist formation. 

Elecciones Marruecos

Moreover, in a letter addressed to the party's secretary general, Saad Eddine El Othmani, party members in Agadir claimed that the lack of transparency has affected the configuration of the lists for the elections.

According to analysts, more resignations could be expected in the coming days in protest at the current party leadership's organisation of the lists for the upcoming elections. According to various media, the resignation initiatives have to do with the lack of "transparency" in the process of appointing members to electoral lists, whether local or legislative.

The Justice and Development Party's grassroots dissatisfaction is evident, especially after the exclusion of people who are considered "activists" in the party, sources told Al-Ain News.

Parlamento del Reino de Marruecos
AFP/FADEL SENNA - Parliament of the Kingdom of Morocco

Several leaders accuse the party of backtracking on its "political commitments", and its claim to adopt the Islamic reference, such as the fake democracy within the party, as well as monopolising positions and privileges, as reported by Al-Ain News.

This phenomenon of resignations within the Moroccan Justice and Development Party, which heads the governing coalition, has worsened in the run-up to the legislative and local elections to be held next autumn, for organisational reasons, and could augur discouraging results for the party currently in power.