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The Moroccan Justice and Development Party refuses to hold partial elections

People cast their votes at a polling station in Rabat, Morocco on 8 September 2021 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]
People cast their votes at a polling station in Rabat, Morocco on 8 September 2021 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

The Moroccan Justice and Development Party (PJD) announced, in a surprising move, its refusal to respond to the call for complementary elections, following the decision by the Minister of Interior setting a date for organising complementary and partial municipal elections with the aim of filling "vacant" seats in some municipalities.

The PJD said that "the origin of the vacancy announced in the relevant municipal councils is not at all due to any of the natural causes stipulated in electoral laws, which usually occur in the life of elected councils."

The Party considered that the matter was related to a "vacancy" that arose on the night of the last municipal elections, as soon as the vote counting process and the distribution of seats were carried out, due to the change in these laws, according to the text of the statement.

The statement said that this vacancy was originally due to the fact that the change in the electoral laws required the removal of the threshold, and the distribution of seats among the lists by the electoral divisor calculated on the basis of the number of voters (valid votes and voided votes), and not only on the basis of the number of valid votes as it was previously. This, inevitably, leads to a surplus of seats that remain undistributed in some cases, as what happened in these municipalities.

The statement signed by the Secretary-General of Justice and Development, Abdelilah Benkirane, considers that this surplus is caused by the difference in the distribution of seats, between the number of voters, adopted in calculating the electoral divisor, and the number of valid votes obtained, a difference that naturally results, in some cases, in surplus seats. After the distribution process, the null votes shall be counted in the electoral divide and the votes obtained shall be approved when distributing the seats.

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Accordingly, the PJD said that it renews its rejection of the amendments made to the electoral laws, which, in addition to the fact that they do not enable the election of elected councils that express the popular will, also suffer from loopholes and legal and technical imbalances and voids that lead to such illogical cases.

The statement added: "This vacancy, resulting from the failure of electoral laws, is a vacancy that preceded the formation of councils, their offices and bodies."

The statement also added: "It thus poses a democratic and legal problem, given that these councils form their offices and bodies before completing the legal number of their members based on the general collective elections and then resort to redress through complementary and partial elections after the completion of the process of electing the structures of the concerned councils, even though they did not complete the legal number of their members."

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