For the first time in its history, Morocco held legislative, municipal and regional elections together on 8 September 2021. These elections were marked, internally, by the pandemic and its ravages on the national economy. On the other hand, the democratic process took place a few weeks after the break in diplomatic relations between Algiers and Rabat, an event that increased tensions between the two countries.
Still on the international front, the September elections took place at a time when Morocco is trying to consolidate itself as a regional power by strengthening ties with its allies, such as the United States, and establishing new alliances, such as Israel. In this regard, the diplomatic crisis with Spain that began in April is also noteworthy.
Aziz Akhannouch, leader of the National Rally of Independents (RNI), was faced with this national and international panorama after winning the elections and being appointed prime minister by King Mohammed VI. The centrist-liberal political formation won 102 of 395 seats, followed by the Authenticity and Modernity Party (87) and the nationalist Istiqlal party (81). Both centre and centre-right political formations entered the government coalition after Akhannouch's negotiations with Abdellatif Ouahbi, leader of the PAM, and Nizar Baraka, president of Istiqlal. Ouahbi also began to head the Ministry of Justice, while Bakara is in charge of the Ministry of Equipment and Water.
After appointing the new Moroccan ministers, Akhannouch announced his government's plans. The president pledged his commitment to social welfare, supporting the most vulnerable families and strengthening public health and education. With respect to the national economy, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, Akhannouch assured that he would "stimulate it for the benefit of employment". For the moment, the government has approved the 'Awrach' programme, which aims to create 250,000 jobs between 2022 and 2023.
"The government is guided by three basic principles: making employment the main focus of all public policies in the economic sphere, strengthening national sovereignty in strategic products and services, and making Moroccan products known internationally and protecting them from unfair competition," he explained. In relation to the coronavirus, the Prime Minister promised to reinforce the health system, increasing the number of health professionals and developing a strong system covering the entire country.
11 days after the appointment of the new government by Mohammed VI, Akhannouch approved the budget for 2022, highlighting social and economic policies, as promised. "Moroccans have put their trust in the programme presented by the tripartite alliance that forms the new government. For its part, the government has given positive signals in this regard," notes Moroccan media outlet Rue20.
In addition, Akhannuch's programme will promote the digitalisation of the administration in order to make public institutions more efficient, ration public spending and strengthen scientific research projects. The new government also aims to reduce disparities among Moroccans. The government has renewed the programme to reduce social and territorial disparities, where 200 rural centres will be developed and improved.
"All the measures taken or initiated by the government during its first 100 days show that we are fulfilling our commitments," Akhannouch told a Moroccan television channel. The prime minister referred to the management of the new Omicron variant and the revival of tourism, a key sector for the Kingdom. Recently, the Ministry of Tourism, headed by Fatima Zahra Ammor, announced an emergency plan to support the sector. Through this project, the government will provide 1 billion dirhams to Moroccan tourism.
However, the political opposition, made up of socialists and Islamists, accuses the government of failing to deliver on its promises. Mahdi Mazouari, a member of the Socialist Union Party, criticised the current government's "lack of political spirit". "After the promises, we are living in a suspicious silence, faced with a government that does not talk about the fight against corruption or fiscal reform," Mazouari said. In response, RNI member Abdel-Wadoud Kharboush argues that the prime minister "works in silence, far from populism and noise". "In 100 days he has dedicated himself to working in silence, not talking and selling illusions to Moroccans," he said.