Morocco’s Islamists: In Power Without Power
Seven months after an Islamist became prime minister for the first time in Morocco’s history, it remains as nebulous here as in Tunisia and Egypt what the Islamists coming to power really portends. It is a conundrum that Islamist-wary Western capitals and independent analysts are all struggling to fathom.
In Morocco, King Mohammed VI has yet to yield any real authority under a new constitution, which requires him to pick the prime minister from the winning party of parliamentary elections won last November by the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD). Its leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, now heads the government but is doing everything to avoid confrontation with the king. As a result, nothing of real substance has changed so far nor is it expected to anytime soon.
“In Morocco, everything appears to change so that nothing really changes,” commented a prominent Moroccan news analyst, who asked to remain anonymous because of his current falling out with the king. In his view, Benkirane has served to “stop the Arab Spring in Morocco” and his party has played the role of the king’s “shock absorber” from pressures for real political reform.
The full piece can be found here.
Click here for David B. Ottaway’s chapter on Algeria.