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Three Moroccan women will lead the mayoralties of Marrakech, Rabat and Casablanca

This development makes Morocco a leading country in gender policies in the region
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For the first time in the region, Morocco will have three regional governments led by women. After the holding of the triple election, women have managed to conquer political spaces, thus claiming to be able to play a more prominent role in Moroccan politics.

In this sense, the Moroccan Asmae Ghlalu, from the National Rally of Independents (RNI) party, together with the doctor and secretary general of the United Socialist party, Nabila Mounib, will be mayors of the cities of Rabat and Casablanca, respectively.

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Fátima Al-Zahra Al-Mansouri

On the other hand, Moroccan Fatima Zahra al-Mansouri, of the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), has once again become mayor of Marrakech. In doing so, Mansouri has taken the post from Mohamed Labri Belcaid, a member of the Justice and Democracy Party (PJD) and mayor of the city since 2015. Moreover, the current mayor held the same post 10 years ago.

Thus, the PAM allied with the National Rally of Independents (RNI with 38 seats) and the Istiqlal party (PI with 22), an alliance that won a comfortable majority of 108 votes out of 179.

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Asmae  Ghlalu 

With the aim of achieving gender equality, since 2002 Morocco has adopted policies to establish quotas in representative bodies. They have now risen to 22.7% in the House of Representatives and one third in regional and local bodies since the adoption of the 2011 Constitution.

On the other hand, in the last elections, women competed for 90 seats out of their quota in the lower house (out of a total of 395 deputies), while at the local level they have been allocated one third of the total seats. 

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Morocco is at the forefront of Arab countries in the region with women in important political positions. However, Moroccan women continue to demand an increase in women's quotas, as the average female quota in Morocco is around 19.9 per cent, while globally it is around 25.6 per cent, which is higher than in the Moroccan parliament.

Analyst Omar Cherkaoui explained to EFE that the gender quota was an inevitable measure in Moroccan society to try to achieve the parity stipulated by the Constitution and to ensure that elected institutions do not continue to be "male bodies".

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Nabila Rmili

The approval of these measures led to two women being elected for the first time in the Kingdom's history as mayors of Marrakech and Tangier, two of the country's most influential cities.

In addition, the new law obliges political parties to have one third of their members be women. For the moment, Professor Nabila Mounib is the only woman to lead a political party in the country, making this a historic milestone in the region.

In this way, Morocco is becoming a regional model on the African continent in terms of gender policy, as for the first time in the country there are several female regional governments and thus three female mayors.

Moroccan feminist policies

In 2018 Morocco welcomed a historic policy in terms of gender-based violence with the approval of the law on violence against women. This law managed to enter into force after six years of negotiations between public institutions and women's associations. However, the organisation Humans Right Watch continues to call the legislative measure "insufficient" as it fails to address "violence against women in public and private spaces".

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PHOTO/REUTERS - A woman casts her vote at a polling station during the parliamentary and local elections, in Casablanca, Morocco, 8 September 2021.

On the other hand, one of the main demands that Moroccan feminists continue to make is the conquest of rights in the sexual and reproductive sphere. In the case of the right to abortion, Morocco has not achieved legalisation in line with the demands put forward by the associations, as the current law in force only provides for the termination of pregnancy if the woman's life is at risk. According to the Moroccan Association for the Fight Against Clandestine Abortions, they denounce that between 600 and 800 clandestine abortions take place every day in the country, which represents a serious risk to women's health.

However, despite the pandemic, women continue to fight for their rights in Morocco. The regional results show an increase in the presence of women in political arenas, a historic fact which, although it is a step towards achieving equality, especially in an Arab country, is still a significant step away from achieving full equality.