Moroccan Socialist Party Leader Blasts Islamists

Nabila Mounib, Secretary-General of the Moroccan Unified Socialist Party, says Islamist political rival Abdelilah Benkirane’s rise to power reflects a broken system. Islamists may dominate the government now, she says, but a future parliamentary monarchy is inevitable. Ramdane Belamri reports.

al-monitor A woman holds a placard sign reading "Power for the people" during a demonstration after the King Mohammed VI announced proposals for constitutional amendments in Casablanca June 19, 2011. Photo by REUTERS/Macao.

Topics covered

unified socialist party (psu), nabila mounib, islamists, coalition for parliamentary monarchy, coalition, authenticity and modernity party (pam), arab spring, arab, abdelilah benkirane

Sep 13, 2013

Nabila Mounib, Secretary-General of the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) in Morocco, says that politician Abdelilah Benkirane’s rise to the top of  Moroccan government reflects the supra-military force’s dominance over the country’s sovereign system. She believes that the transition from an absolute monarchy to a parliamentary monarchy is inevitable.

In an interview at Al-Khabar headquarters, Mounib said that her election as secretary-general of a left-wing party came after a long history of internal struggle. She said that the PSU respects Moroccan women and places women’s rights at the center of the democratic struggle. “My election is a victory for all women struggling for equality and dignity,'' she said.

Mounib admits that the “Arab Spring'' changed the status quo and created a new hope for Arabs to achieve real democratic change. She explained that the “Arab Spring had an indirect impact on my election as PSU secretary-general because the revolutions we have witnessed saved the Moroccan left from floundering amid the the crisis, and helped bring its basic demands to the public, and later to the street.'' According to Mounib, the Moroccan people demand “a constitutional democracy and a parliamentary monarchical rule based on international standards, the elimination of corruption, and establishment of a just state based on the rule of law.''

Regarding the demand for establishing a parliamentary monarchy in Morocco, Mounib said: “We have helped create the 'Coalition for Parliamentary Monarchy,'  here and now, which means that we want to achieve this in Morocco as soon as possible. This coalition includes five parties, three central trade unions, civil and human rights associations, and the February 20 Movement.'' On the PSU’s relationship with the February 20 Movement, Mounib says that her party “was one of the first to support the movement, and we are now demanding its independence because it has been infiltrated and unduly influenced.

Secretary-General of the PSU says that the “makhzan” (royal palace), as she describes it, is still trying to preserve the absolute monarchy. “We have waited 55 years after independence and did not obtain real change. We have only maintained a democratic facade, but power is concentrated in the hands of the monarchy and other superficial institutions,” she said.

Responding to a question from Al-Khabar about her position on the rise of Islamists in Morocco, Mounib said that Abdelilah Benkirane’s ascendancy in Moroccan government in the midst of the Arab Spring reflects the dominance of supra-military forces over the [country’s] sovereign system.” She argued that “the Islamist victory at the ballot box may have been an opportunity for the monarchy to show that change has taken place in Morocco.”

Mounib added: “The monarchy has always fought the Islamists. Their most recent conflict was over the creation of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), which was founded by former interior minister Fouad Ali al-Himma, a friend of the king’s, and whose main task is fighting the Islamists.” The PSU Secretary-General says that “Benkirane bit off more than he can chew. He is a part of the government, but does he not have power because it is concentrated in the hands of the king and the shadow government that is also headed by the king.”

Mounib criticized Abdelilah Benkirane’s political orientations. She said that “he wanted to try his luck at imposing his conservative social project. This was obvious when he tried to make the issue of identity a priority by proposing a government that includes only one female minister out of 31 total.”

She also said that “the Islamist parliamentary victory in Morocco can be duplicated in Algeria because the West believes that supporting the revolutions is in its interest, and that it does not contradict the liberal tendencies of savage globalization. At the same time, the West wants to keep the conflict contained within each state, first to preserve its interests, and second to ensure Israel’s security.”

As for the relationship between Morocco and Algeria, Mounib thinks that “the dream of an Arab Maghreb is the future for the people of this region, but only Morocco and Algeria are practically ready for such a coalition.” 

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:
  • Al-Monitor Archives
  • The Week in Review
  • Exclusive Events
  • Invitation-only Briefings

More from  Ramdane Belamri