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Unrest in Laâyoune in Western Sahara is a reminder of resentment in the region (Source: Al Jazeera)
  • The recent passing of the Education Reform Law will bring much-needed benefits to Morocco’s education system. However, articles that are related to the teaching of subjects in foreign languages will continue to cause tensions between the Francophone elite and those who remain more wedded to Arabisation.
  • Tensions will, however, be most keenly felt inside the ruling Parti de la justice et du développement (PJD). This law has shone a spotlight on the ongoing divisions between those in the party who are willing to compromise for the sake of political power, and those who fear that such compromises are moving them too far away from their core principles.
  • While the PJD will probably hold itself together in spite of these differences, former Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane may well use this law as a springboard from which to mount a more serious return to the heart of the political arena. Such a challenge would go down well with key components among the more conservative parts of the PJD’s constituency. It would, however, be strongly resisted by others and not least the monarchy. As such, a Benkirane return at some point in the not too distant future is unlikely but not inconceivable.
  • The sentencing of the prominent lawyer, Mohamed Messaoudi, for a serious traffic offence that was committed eight years ago has created anxiety among the Kingdom’s lawyers. If there are further cases of this type, it would indicate a worrying new trend with the authorities using the law to intimidate those who are defending protestors and human rights campaigners.
  • The unrest that erupted in Laâyoune — following Algeria’s national football team’s victory in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament — is a stark reminder of the dissatisfaction and resentment that persists in the Western Sahara. It is therefore likely that, despite the heavy clampdown by the Moroccan authorities, the region will see further eruptions of this sort.
  • The IMF’s July statement is a positive endorsement of Morocco’s reform efforts over recent years. While the economy is expected to grow in the medium-term there is clearly a plethora of pressing challenges — including social and regional inequality — which will need to be addressed if the country is to reach its economic potential.

These predictions are part of Morocco Focus, our monthly intelligence report on Morocco which provides essential bits of political and economic analysis on the region. Get a free sample here.

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