Carnegie Report: Morocco, Can the Third Way Succeed?
The Carnegie Endowment published a report by Marina Ottaway entitled “Morocco: Can the Third Way Succeed?” discussing the current state of reform in the kingdom after last year’s political changes. Ottaway finds that the “third way” between stagnant authoritarianism and the “messy path toward popular sovereignty” has not yet been realized in Morocco, but cautions that it is still early and will likely take years to determine the success of incremental reforms.
The ruling Islamist PJD, according to Ottaway, has failed thus far to take advantage of the new political changes, showing deference to the palace on almost every issue. Change is still happening, however, as the PJD attempts to introduce morality and thrift into their government, which may include a risky revamping of the country’s ineffective subsidies program. Ottaway argues that until the PJD feels confident enough to confront the monarchy over issues like corruption, the depth of reform is likely to remain shallow.
Ottaway also examines three actors outside the government that could be future sources of significant political pressure. The first is the February 20 movement, which Ottaway says is largely inactive but that it could be a future rally point for secular groups. Second are Morocco’s Salafi groups, who Ottaway believes are not yet ready to get involved in politics like their Tunisian or Egyptian counterparts. The last and most important in Ottaway’s view is the religious organization Al-Adl wal-Ihsan. The group has historically been politically inactive due to their rejection of the monarchy’s legitimacy, but the organization’s leaders have hinted that they may accept the king within a constitutional monarchy. While when such a shift to action will occur is unknown, but Ottaway believes “it seems unlikely that the organization that is best equipped to force a more dynamic process of change in Morocco will sit on the sidelines forever.”