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Morocco: French Elections Edition

Morocco, as a former protectorate of France, is still well connected to the country. Beyond French cars and French baguettes, Morocco's law and education systems are influenced by France, and more than half of its citizens speak French fluently. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the presidential elections in France were a popular subject in the blogosphere this week.

Ibn Kafka, writes in his blog Obiter Dicta (fr):

Concernant le tropisme droitier de l'élite marocaine, il ne doit pas étonner. Notons tout d'abord que si une large part de l'opinion marocaine est informée de la tenue des présidentielles françaises et de la personnalité de Nicolas Sarkozy et de Ségolène Royal, seule une minorité (dont je fais partie) suit le déroulement de la campagne au jour le jour. Cette minorité est généralement francophone, urbaine, aisée, et scolarisée dans les écoles de la mission française ou ayant fait des études supérieures en France. Ces caractéristiques dénotent son appartenance aux catégories socio-professionnelles supérieures de la société marocaines, appartenance qui l'incline sans doute assez peu au trotskysme. La culture politique marocaine est en outre autoritaire, et l'ordre socio-politique marocain actuel est adossé à un “partenariat” structurel avec les alliés occidentaux du Maroc, dont la France est le premier, tant au plan économique que politique. D'autre part, le contexte politique marocain est caractérisé par l'émergence irrésistible des islamistes en général et du PJD particulier en tant que première force politique du Royaume – islamistes dont les caractéristiques socio-culturelles sont à l'opposé de celles de l'élite urbaine francophone, qui a dès lors intérêt au statu quo politique.

The tendency for the Moroccan elite to be right-leaning should not be surprising. Let us note, first of all, that if a big part of Moroccan opinion is informed of the behavior of the French presidential candidates and the personalities of Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal, only a minority (of which I am part) follows the unfolding of the campaign on the day to day. This minority is generally French-speaking, urban, well-off, and has been educated in French Mission schools or has completed higher education in France. This minority is part of a higher socio-economic group of Moroccan society, which undoubtedly does not incline it toward Trotskyism. The Moroccan political culture is, moreover, authoritative, and the current Moroccan socio-political order is geared toward a structural “partnership” with the Western allies of Morocco, of which France is the first, economically and politically. Additionally, the Moroccan political context is characterized by the emergence of Islamism in general, and the PJD in particular as a top political force of the Kingdom – Islamism, of which the sociocultural characteristics are contrary to those of the French-speaking urban elite, which therefore has an interest in the political status quo.

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Earlier this week Reda (fr) had posted:

Le 1er tour des présidentielles françaises aura lieu dimanche prochain. Normalement, j’essaie le moins possible de m’immiscer dans les affaires politiques internes d’un pays (je parle de la France bien sûr) pour lequel je n’ai pas d’attaches particulières à part le fait que le Maroc (mon pays natal) avait fait les frais des visées expansionnistes de la France pendant 50 ans et surtout qu’il y a pas mal de marocains ou de leurs descendants (2 millions disons) qui sont installés dans l’hexagone.

Mais voilà, Sarkozy-le leader actuel dans les sondages pour ces élections-a commis l’impair de prendre position dans une affaire maroco-marocaine: Apparemment qu’il aurait convaincu les autorités marocaines de ne pas accorder le droit de vote aux marocains résidants à l’étranger. Il est vrai que le fait que celles-ci accordent la moindre importance à ce qu’un ministre de l’intérieur d’un pays même pas voisin du Maroc m’échappe mais là n’est pas mon propos, Sarkozy aurait dû se mêler de ce qui le regarde.

The first round of the presidential elections will take place next Sunday. Normally, I try my hardest not to get involved in political affairs of a country (I speak of France of course) to which I am not particularly attached, except that Morocco (my native country) has already paid for the expansionist ambitions of France for 50 years and except that there is a significant number of Moroccans or people of Moroccan descent (let's say 2 million) living in France.

Unfortunately, Sarkozy, the current leader in the surveys for these elections – has made the mistake of taking a stand in a Morocco-Moroccan affair; Apparently he may have convinced the Moroccan authorities not to grant voting rights to Moroccan residents abroad. The fact that they give more importance to the Interior Minister of a country which is not even close to Morocco escapes me, but it's not my business; Sarkozy should worry about his own business.

As the results that Sarkozy had won were announced, Kahina (fr) wrote:

Le choix des français s'est porté sur Nicolas SARKOZY par plus de 53,5% des voix, bonne chance donc à notre nouveau président et acceptons cette belle leçon de démocratie.L'heure de la réforme a enfin sonné…

Sarkozy won with more than 53.5% of the votes. Good luck thus to our new president and let's accept this beautiful lesson of democracy. The hour of reform has finally arrived…

Laila Lalami was less congratulatory, saying “53% of French voters have decided to let Sarkozy ‘water-hose’ more ‘scum’ from the projects.”

Lastly, Label Ash (fr) summed it up nicely by saying “Et comme il faut être bon joueur, Bravo Monsieur le Président, même si je n'ai pas voté pour vous.”

In other words, “And as it is necessary to be a good sport, Bravo Mr. President, even if I did not vote for you.”

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