Morocco: Women candidates

An item regarding the recent Moroccan elections on Al Jazeera English, originally broadcast 7 September (seen on Mosaic), featured interviews with some of the women running for parliamentary seats.

The story indicated that of the 325 seats, 34 “national posts” are reserved for women. One woman profiled in the segment was Maguy Kajon, described as a leader of a “small liberal party.” The party’s symbol is a bee because “she is ready to sting if need be.” She is also Jewish, and indicates that she is well known as such in the country. While she is interviewed on camera as saying it has never been a “problem” for her to be Jewish, a voice over during images of her handing out leaflets says that she faces challenges convincing voters to vote for her “despite being Jewish.” ((The Jewish Virtual Library page on The Jews of Morocco is interesting. It notes that “at present Morocco has one of the most tolerant environments for Jews in the Arab world.” Nonetheless, the numbers have declined from more than a quarter of a million in 1948 to around 5,500 as of 2003.))

Another woman featured on the segment was Bassima Hakkawi, running as a candidate for the Party of Justice and Development, the Islamist party. She said that:

Voters tend to trust women candidates more than men, but when it comes to casting their ballots, they vote for male candidates. And probably there’s a psychological reason for that.

Probably so. In any event, a report on Abu Dhabi TV (also via Mosaic) on 9 September reported that 34 women were elected. It also said that four ministers and seven “party leaders” (whatever that might mean) lost their seats.

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