Monday, June 22, 2009

Moroccan youth eager to participate in communal elections

Note: This refers to elections that took place in Morocco June 12, but it's still pretty interesting.

Communal elections were held recently in Morocco. As the elections approached, observers noted a major difference from the last national poll. In 2007, young people seemed apathetic. This time, however, many young Moroccans planned to vote, or even stand for election themselves.

Some young Moroccans were skeptical:

“Whether we go to the ballot boxes or not, whether we defended our own existence and run in the elections or not, the situation will be the same,” university student Rachid complains.

“It's the same old clich├ęs – democracy, change, transparency, and service of public interests – which can be seen in all party slogans and speeches by their leaders, but we don't see any implementation on the ground,” he says.

Others are more hopeful:

“Participation in communal elections this year represents a break with the past,” Younes Naoumi tells Magharebia. “It's also an opportunity for young people to defy the stereotype that some people give us as the weak link in building Moroccan society.”

Naoumi is among 25 candidates under 30 years old who will be on the ballot June 12th for local leadership positions in the Hay Mohammedi neighbourhood of Casablanca. He has a strong desire to change the traditional image of communal advisor because, to his view, communal officials have consistently failed to achieve the goals and needs of their constituents.

Morocco's National Institute for Youth and Democracy (NIYD) offered training and support for the young candidates. About forty young men and women were accompanied during the campaign by NIYD experts who advised them to be tolerant and to respect their competitors, and not to make false promises.

Moroccan youth eager to participate in communal elections

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