The ruling Parti de la justice et du développement (PJD) is undergoing its own internal crisis which has been prompted by a series of scandals that have rocked the party and eroded trust in it.
The greatest concern is the upcoming retrial of one of its prominent leaders, Abdelali Hamidine. He is a member of the House of Councillors upper legislative chamber and is in the PJD’s General Secretariat. He is known for being hawkish and has openly criticised the Palace on previous occasions, including accusing it of hindering Morocco’s development.
Hamidine was convicted in 1993 of participating in a commotion between Islamist and leftist students at the University of Fes which led to the death of one of the left-wing students, Aït Ljid. Hamidine was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the disorder. However, the state-run Instance Equité et Réconciliation (IER) later pronounced that Hamidine was innocent of taking part in the confrontation that led to the killing.
As far as Hamidine and the PJD were concerned this case was over and done with. In November 2018, however, the case was re-opened by the judiciary following a request by Ljid’s family for a retrial.
This case is potentially explosive for the PJD. The re-opening of the trial has already prompted leading PJD member, State Minister for Human Rights Mustafa Ramid to accuse the judiciary of lacking independence, which has provoked fury among judges and elicited a condemnation from the Judges’ Union. This case therefore has the potential to drive a further wedge between the executive and the judiciary.
All this does not bode well for the ruling party, which is also being forced to face up to allegations of corruption, and especially in some of the local councils that it runs.
It is clear that the PJD is facing myriad of challenges that are blocking its ability to govern and be taken seriously. This may chip away at the PJD’s popularity and also raises serious questions over how long the governing coalition will be able to survive.
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