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Elections

Morocco: A Bipolarization under Royal Control

[A woman walks by a wall adorned with party symbols for election lists. Image by Vesna Middelkoop/Flickr]

The Moroccan electoral race began in September with the local and regional elections, which culminated on Tuesday 13 October with the election of the President of the Chamber of Councillors, the Upper House of Parliament. [1] The 120 elected representatives (217 prior to the constitutional reform of 2011) have designated Hakim Benchemass, from the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM) as the president of the Chamber of Councillors. It took two rounds and a margin of one vote to rule out Benchemass’ opponent from the Istiqlal party, Abdessamad Kayouh. This narrow victory allowed the parliamentary opposition to take control of the Upper House. While the Istiqlal ...

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Egypt: What Elections?

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With a final turnout of less than twenty-six percent, voting for the first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections ended on 28 October across fourteen governorates, including Giza, Alexandria, Suez and Fayoum. The poor election turnout came as a shock to many observers. The ongoing elections are viewed as the third and final step of the transition “roadmap” that the current political leadership announced following the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi two years ago. Yet the majority of those interviewed for this story greeted the vote with a mix of indifference and skepticism.  

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The Ongoing, Steady Gains of Morocco's Islamist Party

[Image of leaders from the Party of Justice and Development celebrating their wins in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

Moroccans took to the polls on 4 September to vote in the first local elections since 2009. A total of about one hundred forty thousand candidates competed for around thirty-two thousand seats. These local elections were the first to take place after the new constitution in 2011, which the monarch effectively used as a way to steal the 20 February Movement’s thunder and calm the protests by seemingly giving in to some of the protestors’ demands. The new constitution and the subsequent law of regionalization gives more power to regional councils, and also aims to give Morocco’s twelve regions more prerogatives. The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is the ...

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خلافـــــة الرئيـــس

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كلمّا تقدّم الزمن تُطرح مسألة خلافة الرئيس محمود عباس بقوة أكبر، لأن الرئيس تجاوز الثمانين من عمره وانتهت الفترة القانونية لولايته منذ حوالي سبع سنوات من دون إجراء الانتخابات التي لا يعرف أحد متى ستعقد وكيف، مع تأكيد الرئيس المستمر بأنه لن يترشح لولاية ثانية، ما يعني أن معركة التنافس على الخلافة قد بدأت – وإن من وراء الكواليس - منذ فترة طويلة، وهي التي يمكن أن تفسر الكثير مما يحدث من قرارات وإقصاءات. كما أنّ الأطراف المقررة (فتح وحماس) ليستا ناضجتين ولا جاهزتين، ولا تريدان إجراء الانتخابات بالرغم من تأكيدهما المستمر على إجرائها. ما يعطي أهمية استثنائية لمسألة خلافة الرئيس: أولًا: استمرار وتفاقم الانقسام الفلسطيني وما أدى إليه من تعطيل المجلس التشريعي وعدم الاتفاق على ...

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HDP’nin programina evet diyen muhafazakarlar, kadin, Alevi ve LGBTI’lerle esitlige de evet diyor

[Image via Wikipedia Commons.]

HDP’nin programına evet diyen muhafazakârlar, kadın, Alevi ve LGBTİ’lerle eşitliğe de evet diyor Bu seçimleri değerlendirirken en önce şunu söylemek gerekir: Kazanan her şeyden önce gönüllü müşahitlik yapan, oyları son dakikaya kadar koruyan, halkın iradesi tam olarak sonuçlara yansısın diye uğraşan, tabandan örgütlenmiş, genç ve kadın ağırlıklı sandık hareketleridirz. Seçim sonuçlarına güvenimiz tam, uzun yıllardır ilk kez ana gündem sandık çalmalar değil. Üstelik bu sandık hareketleri ne parayla, ne pulla, ne de ideolojik adanmışlıkla bir arada durdular. Hakiki bir gönüllükle, inançla tabandan demokrasiyi yarattılar. Teşekkür ederiz. İkinci kazanan Kürt halkı. ...

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Tunisia: Democratic Miracle or Mirage?

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Since December 2014, Western officials and analysts have very actively, almost aggressively, celebrated the Tunisian “success,” which is alternatively defined as an “exception” or a “model” in a chaotic Arab world. Following the Tunisian president’s official visit to France in April 2015, Beji Caid Essebi’s visit to the United States on 20-21 May 2015, completed the Western consecration of Tunisia’s induction into the “club of democracies.” The current fascination with Tunisia’s democratic achievement, echoing the blind celebration of the so-called Tunisian economic miracle during the Ben Ali era, requires critical analysis. The promotion of Tunisia as a “bon élève ...

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Refugees in Turkey: Implications of Increasing Politicization

Banners and election propaganda following a Justice and Development Party (AKP) rally in Gaziantep. [Image courtesy of the author]

Migration has long been a securitized issue in Turkey, but with the upcoming parliamentary election on 7 June 2015, this might indeed be the first time that immigration into Turkey has been politicized to such an extent. For a brief moment in 2008, Turkey appeared to be moving away from its security-focused approach to immigration. A representative from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), who asked to remain unnamed, says that this is why Turkey was able to pass Law No. 6458 on Foreigners and International Protection, revamping Turkey’s entire migration and asylum system. While the original incentive for Turkey’s migration overhaul were the ongoing EU ...

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Requiem for Tunisia’s Revolution?

[Tunisian man facing Ben Ali’s security forces with a loaf of bread, the use of the baguette is symbolic for the regime's failure to provide public goods and a reminder of the 1984 bread riots in Tunisia. Image from Tixup]

The Arab uprisings seemed to herald a fatal rupture in orientalist narratives, challenging as they did essentialized renderings of the region as one mired by "authoritarian resilience" and failures to democratize. However, four years after the uprisings, familiar forms of reductionist analysis about the regions persist, albeit more subtly. The latest readings of the Tunisian experience have not shied away from condescending tropes regarding the success of its stable, liberal transition as opposed to the volatility and illiberal failings of other “Arab spring” countries. The Economist’s rationale for choosing Tunisia as the magazine’s “country of the year” ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (December 4)

[Screenshot from a video of a home getting destroyed in Guelmim, Morocco due to major recent flooding. Image from video uploaded by Ali Bedar on Facebook]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria Are There Lessons to be Learnt From Algeria’s Past? Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck examines similarities and differences between Algeria’s struggle with the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in the 1990s and the rise of the Islamic State.  الجزائر: مقتل اثنين في أعمال شغب Two people were killed last Friday in clashes between ...

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On the Margins Roundup (November)

[Image of dugout canoes on the beach at Iconi, the onetime capital of Grande Comore, Union of the Comoros. Image from David Stanley/Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to info@jadaliyya.com.]  Comoros China tests malaria drug on an entire African nation Chinese scientists, with the Comoran government, gave Chinese-made drugs to everyone in the country in a massive, controversial medical experiment.  Why is China investing in the Comoros? An experimental malaria drug is not the only ...

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Tunisia: The Victory of Secularism over Islamism?

[Image of Rashid al-Ghannoushi and Beji Caid-Essebsi. Image from MosaiqueFM]

To the layman’s eye, the recent results of Tunisia’s legislative elections read like the triumph of progressive secularism over backward Islamism. Champions of modernization and secularization theory, in Arab and Western media alike, have hailed the victory of Nidaa Tounes  (the Call of Tunisia), a conservative patchwork movement composed of ancien régime figures, technocrats, and leftists, united under the vague banners of Bourguibism and anti-Islamism. The Islamist movement of Ennahda, the incumbent, had been in power since October 2011. I argue that teleological understandings of history and triumphalist narratives of secularism’s victory over Islamism obscure ...

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Beyond Uncritical Optimism: The Challenges for Transitional Tunisia

[Campaign posters on display in Tunis during the 2011 elections. Image by Tarek/Flickr]

Tunisia will go to the polls on 26 October in order to decide the composition of the new parliament and the new political balance that will determine the next phases of political transition. Since the uprising, there have been many and important steps toward real political and institutional change. Indeed, Tunisia has undergone a process of policy change involving the liberalization of political landscape, the subsequent participation of new political forces in the electoral process, the marginalization of the radical fringes, a dramatic rise in the levels of civil and political rights, and the adoption of a new constitution. Moreover, this process has taken place ...

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Turkey: Nationalism and War Mongering Won the Election

The mood was tense as the election results came in to the local office of the progressive People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the town of Erzurum in eastern Turkey. This is a very conservative region on the invisible border between nationalist Turkish Anatolia and the Kurdish region. The HDP’s office was filled with leaflets and banners that party activists did not dare to distribute due to fear of reprisals and violence. The party lost its single deputy from the area and saw a small nationwide decrease ...

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Eastern Promises Squandered

In the days following the 1 November election, Turkey’s pro-government newspapers have depicted a bright future for the nation. Writing for Yeni Şafak, one columnist explained that the government could now move forward with constitutional and economic reforms, albeit vaguely defined ones. In Yeni Akit, another columnist echoed these sentiments, pointing out that the exchange rate had already begun to fall, stocks were rising, and anticipated investments could now begin again. Voicing a general sentiment, ...

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New Texts Out Now: Negar Mottahedeh, #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life

Negar Mottahedeh, #iranelection: Hashtag Solidarity and the Transformation of Online Life. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Negar Mottahedeh (NM): Writing ‪#‎iranelection was for me about the witnessing of a sea-change brought about in our life as global citizens by an epic solidarity around the first long trending global hashtag in 2009. No social media platform had seen masses of people from all over the world engage one another about ...

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Will the Greferendum Bring A Rupture?: Answers from the European Left

If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it; for it is hard to be sought out and difficult. Heraclitus, Fragments Having participated in the international anti-EU forum just days before Syriza government called for a bailout referendum, Athens was seminal in inciting all smatters to indulge in the day-to-day developments of Greek politics. During the three-day forum, participants were involved in deep discussions about political and economic crises within the European Economic Area, ...

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Nobody Leaves through the Ballot Box: The Historical Irrelevance of General Elections in Sudanese Political Transitions

In almost sixty years of independence, Sudan has witnessed a dozen heads of state come and go and countless presidential and parliamentary elections. Of these presidents and prime ministers, less than a handful was voted into office and not a single one has been voted out. With the current elections widely seen as a farce, a foregone conclusion with Omar al-Bashir set to win and many Sudanese people shifting between apathy and antipathy towards the process, a spotlight has been shone on the electoral ...

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First Thoughts on the Elections in Turkey: A Roundtable

On 7 June 2015, Turkey held a general election to elect the 550 members of the Grand National Assembly and form the Twenty-Fifth Parliament of Turkey. Those who have followed politics in Turkey have watched a tense, and even violent, political scene emerge over the past few weeks. The pre-election period was shaped by vehement election campaigns by the vying political parties, as they put forward their agendas. The period was also dominated by debates over the alleged unlawful use of public funds and ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 14)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Turkey and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Turkey Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to turkey@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] English Hostage Crisis A Murder and Primitive Opposition Commenting on the hostage crisis on 31 March that ended with the murder of the prosecutor and two protesters, Etyen ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (December 21)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week] Algeria   Appel au meurtre contre Kamel Daoud A Salafi imam called for the assassination of Kamel Daoud, an award winning journalist and novelist ...

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The Quest for a Way Out of Tunisia’s Constitutional Quagmire

Successfully passing the tests of democracy while the whole region seems to be doomed to a chronic state of turmoil, Tunisia is considered to have set a good example for the “Arab Spring” countries and is expected to prove that a happy ending is actually possible. In fact, Tunisia has come a long way from the shadows of the police state to the perspective of a sustainable democracy. And it is Tunisian political life that has witnessed the biggest shift from a vegetative state to an interesting and ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (November 8)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week]  Algeria Algérie : 1er novembre 1954, retour sur la « Toussaint rouge » de l’indépendance Algeria celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of its ...

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On the Margins Roundup (October)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to info@jadaliyya.com.]   Mauritania  Watch the Trailer for Mauritania's First-Ever Oscar Submission 'Timbuktu' Abderrahmane Sissako's drama about Al Qaeda ...

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Maghreb Media Roundup (October 23)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Maghreb and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Maghreb Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to maghreb@jadaliyya.com by Thursday night of every week]  Algeria En Algérie, le régime est à bout de souffle Algerian police protested in front of the Presidential Palace for twenty-four hours last week calling ...

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