The September, 2007, parliamentary elections in Morocco are likely to be held under a new electoral law. In July, the government submitted a bill that to impose two higher thresholds against smaller parties compared to the current law:
(1) Parties that won under 3% of the vote in the 2002 elections would lose their right to compete in the 2007 election, unless they could submit a petition signed by at least 100 people for each candidate on their party list; and
(2) The threshold for representation in the parliament would be raised from 3% to 7% of the votes in 2007.
The bill was submitted by the government in July and approved by parliament’s Interior, Decentralization and Infrastructures Committee in late November. Under pressure from opposition parties, including the Islamist Justice and Charity group (Al Adl wal Ihsan), parliament amended the bill. Nabil Benabdallah, minister of communications and official spokesman for the Moroccan government, told Al-Hayat that:
the parliament endorsed a new election law that forgoes the three per cent threshold, requires that 100 signatures be obtained from each constituency containing 50,000 to 60,000 voters, and lowers the seven per cent requirement to six per cent.
Benabdallah also claimed that the law “was drafted by political parties in Morocco and not by the state,” and noted that “election laws spark disputes in all democratic countries.” Apparently, final approval is still pending and opposition parties continue to protest the government’s plans.
The electoral system evidently is districted list PR of some form, and the seat-allocation process and districts from 2002 are unchanged in the draft bill. The Islamist party is currently represented by 40 deputies (out of 325) and is expected to do much better in the upcoming elections, possibly even a majority.
Sources: Arab Reform Bulletin and 24 November and 23 December reports from Global News Wire – Asia Africa Intelligence Wire via BBC Monitoring International Reports (accessed through LexisNexis). The quotations come from the latter item.