2011 Moroccan general election
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395 seats in the House of Representatives
198 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats +/–
PJD Abdelilah Benkirane 22.78 107 +61
Istiqlal Abbas El Fassi 11.86 60 +8
RNI Salaheddine Mezouar 11.33 52 +13
PAM Mohamed Biadillah 11.05 47 New
USFP Abdelwahed Radi 8.60 39 +1
MP Mohand Laenser 7.47 32 -9
UC Mohamed Abied 5.80 23 -4
PPS Nabil Benabdallah 5.68 18 +1
FFD Thami Khiari 2.85 1 -8
Labour 2.26 4 -1
PED Ahmed Alami 2.30 2 -3
Al-ʽAhd 1.73 2 +2
MDS 1.71 2 -7
Green Left 0.71 1 New
Action Party 0.31 1 +1
PRE 2 -2
PUD 1 New
PLJS 1 +1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
Prime Minister before Prime Minister after
Abbas El Fassi
Abdelilah Benkirane

Early general elections were held in Morocco on 25 November 2011, brought forward from 2012 and then postponed from 7 October 2011.

Public protests as part of the Arab Spring in February 2011 led King Mohammed VI to announce an early election, a process of constitutional reform granting new civil rights, and the relinquishing of some of his administrative powers. Following a referendum on 1 July 2011, the new constitution was ratified on 13 September.

Of the Lower House of Parliament's 395 seats, 305 were elected from party lists in 92 constituencies and the additional 90 seats were elected from a national list, with two thirds reserved for women and the remaining third reserved for men under the age of 40.[1][2]

30 parties participated in the elections, 18 of which gained seats. The vast majority of seats was won by three political groups: the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD); an eight-party "Coalition for Democracy" (led by the RNI) headed by Morocco's incumbent minister of finance Salaheddine Mezouar; and the Koutla ("Coalition") alliance of the incumbent prime minister Abbas El Fassi.[3]

Results of the election, in terms of numbers of seats won by each party, were announced on 27 November 2011. But no voting figures of any kind were released, and still had not been by the end of 2011. This was in contrast with the 2007 elections, for which voting figures were released by the Interior Ministry. The official turnout was 45%, but some comments suggested it was much lower.[4]

The Justice and Development party won 107 seats, giving it the largest parliamentary representation, although not a majority. According to the new constitution, this made its leader, Abdelillah Benkirane, prime minister.


2007 parliamentary elections

Main article: 2007 Moroccan parliamentary election

The 2007 parliamentary elections were the second of King Mohammed VI's reign. They were characterized by a relatively low turnout of 37%, 15 points down from that of 2002 (52%).[3] The Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) - the largest party in the outgoing government - unexpectedly lost 12 of its seats. The Istiqlal Party came first with 52 seats, ahead of the Justice and Development Party with 46, despite the latter coming first in terms of number of votes. A coalition of five parties (Istiqlal, Popular movement, National rally of independents, Party of Progress and Socialism and Socialist Union of Popular Forces) with a narrow combined majority in the House of Representatives formed a government headed by Abbas El Fassi, the president of the Istiqlal party.

Arab Spring and protest movement

Main article: 2011–2012 Moroccan protests

Following national protests held in early February 2011 in solidarity with the Egyptian revolution, a youth group (later known as the 20 February movement) and the Islamist organization Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane called for a day of protests.[5][6] Among the demands of the organisers was that the constitutional role of the king should be "reduced to its natural size".[7] On 20 February, several thousands of people participated in demonstrations across Morocco.[8] On 26 February, a further protest was held in Casablanca.[9] Further protests were held in Casablanca and Rabat on 20 March.[10]

On 9 March, King Mohammed announced that he would form a commission to work on constitutional revisions, which would make proposals to him by June, after which a referendum would be held on the draft constitution.[11]

2011 Constitutional reforms

Main article: 2011 Moroccan constitutional referendum

A committee representing various parties was tasked by the king to prepare the new constitution. A draft was published in early June 2011.[12][13] A referendum for its adoption was conducted on 1 July 2011 and registered a record high participation rate with a 70% turnout; the reforms were passed with 98% approval.[13] The protest movement however, previously called for a boycott of the referendum.[13] Consequently, the date of the parliamentary election was brought forward from September 2012 to October 2011.

The new constitution, entered into effect on 1 August 2011, created a number of new civil rights, including constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, social equality for women, rights for speakers of minority languages and the independence of judges.[14]

Changes to electoral and administrative law were also significant. The king rescinded his power to appoint prime ministers, obliging himself to appoint a member of the party winning the most seats in a parliamentary election.[14][15] The office of prime minister, in turn, was given additional powers to appoint senior civil servants and diplomats, in consultation with the king's ministerial council.[16][17] The prime minister replaced the king as the head of government and chair of the government council, gaining the power to dissolve parliament.[18]

The voting system was also changed so that the number of parliamentary seats decided on a constituency basis was increased from 295 to 305. Additional seats were reserved for election from national party lists, 60 consisting only of female candidates and 30 for male candidates under the age of 40.[1][2][3]

Election timetable

After negotiations between the interior ministry, which oversees elections, and some 20 political parties, the government proposed that parliamentary elections should be moved to 11 November, with the possibility of shifting it due to its proximity to the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.[19] In the end, the election was held on 25 November 2011. The electoral campaign took place from 12 to 24 November.[20]

There were fears that a low voter turnout, already traditionally a problem, would be further exacerbated by a boycott call by the pro-reform February 20 movement and the Islamist organization Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane, who felt that the constitutional reforms were insufficient.[3][21]

Electoral system

The election follows the closed list proportional representation system (with a 6 percent threshold) using the largest remainder method. Voting is conducted through universal suffrage in secret ballots.[2]

There are two types of list, local and national.[2] 305 seats are allocated for the local lists spread over 92 electoral districts, while the national list consists of 90 seats, putting the total number of deputies at 395 - 70 more than the last election.[2][3]

The national list consists of a 60 seats list reserved for women and another of 30 seats for candidates under 40.[2][3] The list follows the same proportional representation system but on the level of the country.


All Moroccan citizens are eligible for voting if they are at least 18 years old and have their civil and political rights unrestrained by a court order.[2] A person is eligible for candidacy if they fulfil the conditions set out in the law regulating parliament (law 27.11 articles 6 to 10), according to which the following are ineligible:[2]


Participating parties

A total of 30 parties proposed candidates in the election[23] while three far-left parties - the communist "Talia", the Unified Socialist Party and the "Nahj Ad-Dimuqrati" - called for a boycott.[citation needed] The Islamist organization Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane and the 20 February protest movement also called for a boycott.[citation needed]

Istiqlal was the only party that filled a list for every constituency. The Justice and Development Party and the Socialist Union of Popular Forces both fielded 393 candidates.[24]

Party number of candidates
Istiqlal Party 395
Justice and Development Party (PJD) 393
Socialist Union of Popular Forces 393
Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) 386
National Rally of Independents (RNI) 381
Popular Movement 377
Front of Democratic Forces 365
Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) 365
Constitutional Union 340
Democratic Oath Party (SD) 305
National Congress Party (PCNI) 300
Labour Party (PT) 297
Democratic and Social Movement (MDS) 261
Environment and Sustained Development 255
Socialist Party (PS) 244
Moroccan Liberal Party (PLM) 221
Green Left Party 204
Social Centre Party (PCS) 182
Party of Renewal and Equity (PRE) 162
Reform and Development Party (PRD) 154
Action Party (PA) 149
Party of Renaissance and Virtue (PRV) 128
Unity and Democracy Party (PUD) 121
Moroccan Union for Democracy UMD 117
National Democratic Party 115
Citizens' Forces (PFC) 110
Party of Hope (PE) 103
Party of Liberty and Social Justice (PLJS) 100
Democratic Society Party (PSD) 72
Democratic Independence Party (PDI) 58
Independents 6

Source: [1]

Major competing parties

The eight leaders of the coalition for democracy
The eight leaders of the coalition for democracy

The main contestants in the election were three political formations : the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), headed by Salé's deputy Abdelillah Benkirane; the "Coalition for Democracy" which is an alliance headed by Morocco's current minister of finance Salaheddine Mezouar; and the Koutla alliance of the incumbent prime minister Abbas El Fassi[3]

The Coalition for Democracy was formed on 10 October 2011 and groups eight parties: the National Rally of Independents, the Popular Movement, the Constitutional Union, the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), the Labour Party, the Green Left Party, the Party of Renaissance and Virtue and the Socialist Party.[25]

The Koutla groups three parties which are members of the 2007-2011 government; namely the Istiqlal Party, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces and the Party of Progress and Socialism.[26] The Koutla alliance criticized the decision of two other member parties of the current government to join the Coalition for Democracy alliance with other parties of the opposition.[26] Consequently, the leaders of the Koutla made implicit calls for the Justice and Development party to join their alliance.[26]

the three leaders of the Koutla (center)
the three leaders of the Koutla (center)

The below table lists the most prominent parties in the Moroccan political scene (bold indicates members of the 2007-2011 government):

Party Ideology 2007 Seats
Istiqlal Party Nationalism-Conservatism 52
Justice and Development Party Islamism (right-wing) 46
Popular Movement Conservative liberalism-Economic liberalism 41
National Rally of Independents Liberalism 39
Socialist Union of Popular Forces Social democracy 38
Constitutional Union Conservatism-Economic liberalism 27
Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS) Socialism 17
Authenticity and Modernity Party* Conservatism-Economic liberalism x
Al Ahd union (joint list)** Centre-right 14
Front of Democratic Forces Socialism 9
Democratic and Social Movement Socialism 9
PADS Union (joint list)*** Socialism 6
Labour party Labor rights-Socialism 5
Environment and Development Party Green politics 5

(*): Was formed after the 2007 elections.
(**): Joint list of the National Democratic Party and Al Ahd
(***): Joint list of the National Congress Party, the Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party and the Unified Socialist Party


The spokesman of the ministry of the interior announced on the evening of Friday 25 November that the turnout in the election was 45%, up 8 points from that of 2007.[3] By the time of the initial results on 26 November, covering 288 of the 395 seats being contested, it had become clear that the Justice and Development Party had secured a plurality. It had secured 80 seats by this stage, with Istiqlal having secured 45. News organizations speculated that the Justice and Development Party would govern in coalition with several left-wing political parties.[27]

Names of successful candidates were announced on 27 November 2011.[1] The Justice and Development Party won a plurality of seats, making its leader, Abdelillah Benkirane, prime minister designate under the rules of the new constitution. "This is a clear victory," he said,"but we will need alliances in order to work together".[28]

2011 Morocco Assembly.png
Justice and Development Party1,080,91422.782483107+61
Istiqlal Party562,72011.86134760+8
National Rally of Independents537,55211.33124052+13
Authenticity and Modernity Party524,38611.05123547New
Socialist Union of Popular Forces408,1088.6093039+1
Popular Movement 354,4687.4782432–9
Constitutional Union 275,1375.8061723–4
Party of Progress and Socialism269,3365.6861218+1
Front of Democratic Forces135,1612.85011–8
Environment and Development Party109,3352.30022–3
Labour Party 107,3992.26044–1
Democratic and Social Movement 81,3241.71022–7
National Ittihadi Congress56,4021.19000–6
Socialist Party 44,2780.93000–2
Moroccan Liberal Party42,3130.890000
Green Left Party 33,8410.71011+1
Social Centre Party25,5500.540000
Action Party 14,9160.31011+1
Party of Renewal and Equity022–2
Unity and Democracy Party011New
Party of Liberty and Social Justice011+1
Moroccan Union for Democracy000–2
Citizens' Forces000–1
Party of Renaissance and Virtue000–1
Reform and Development Party 0000
National Democratic Party 0000
Party of Hope 0000
Democratic Society Party000New
Democratic Independence Party0000
Valid votes4,745,35377.71
Invalid/blank votes1,361,51122.29
Total votes6,106,864100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,420,63145.50
Source: García, Atlas, Psephos

By coalition

Coalition Total seats Seats % Seat change Constituency seats List seats Votes Votes %
Coalition for Democracy 159 40.3 Increase 44 121 38 X X
Koutla 117 29.6 Increase 10 89 28 X X
Justice and Development Party 107 27.1 Increase 61 83 24 X X
Other 12 3.0 Decrease 45 12 0 X X
Total (turnout 45.4%) 395 100% Increase 70 305 90 X X

Government formation

The Justice and Development party is expected to ally with the Koutla and form a government that will be likely headed by Abdelillah Benkirane or Saadeddine Othmani, who are respectively the current and former party leaders.[29] Benkirane held talks with the King on the evening of 28 November, and declared that he is not going to announce an alliance before the prime minister is appointed.[29] He has previously stated that he is open to an alliance with the Koutla and made positive signs towards it.

After the announcement of the final results, some leaders of the Coalition for Democracy stated that they have no reason to still maintain the alliance.[30] Mohand Laenser of the Popular Movement and representatives from the Constitutional Union said that they were discussing whether to stay or retract from the coalition.[30] Salaheddine Mezouar of the National Rally of Independents, and Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, leader of the Authenticity and Modernity Party, said that they choose not to participate in the upcoming government.[30][31][32]

On Tuesday 29 November 2011, as expected, Abdelilah Benkirane was nominated by the king as the new prime minister.[33]

Soumia Benkhaldoun was appointed Minister Delegate to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training.[34]

On 9 July 2013, Istiqlal's six ministers resigned from the cabinet over subsidy reforms.[35]


  1. ^ a b c "Résultats définitifs des élections législatives du 25 novembre". Moroccan national portal site. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "فضاء المعلومات - الانتخابات التشريعية 2011". Moroccan Government. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Daniel Silva (25 November 2011). "Morocco votes in first election since reforms". AFP. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Wrap-up on Elections & Challenges Ahead". 28 November 2011.
  5. ^ Karam, Souhail (3 February 2011). "Morocco government plays down call for protests". Reuters. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
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  14. ^ a b BBC News, June 29, 2011, "Q&A: Morocco's referendum on reform" https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13964550
  15. ^ Article 47 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  16. ^ Article 91 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  17. ^ Article 49 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  18. ^ AFP. "Maroc: la réforme constitutionnelle préconise de limiter certains pouvoirs du roi". Parisien. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  19. ^ "Morocco to host early parliamentary election". 15 August 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Le Maroc fixe la date du début et de la fin de la campagne électorale". Afriquinfos. 2011-10-20. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved 2011-10-30.
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  27. ^ NDTV, November 27, 2011, "New Moroccan govt faces stiff economic challenges" http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/new-moroccan-govt-faces-stiff-economic-challenges-153353&cp"
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  32. ^ "بنكيران يعد بتقليص عدد وزراء الحكومة المقبلة والاستوزار للأصلح". Hespress. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
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  34. ^ "Qui est Jamila Moussali, remplaçante de Soumia Benkhaldoun au gouvernement ?". Telquel.ma (in French). Retrieved 2020-05-17.
  35. ^ "Ministers to quit Moroccan coalition".