Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Morocco's former finance minister publicly accused of corruption

On 11 June, parliamentary debates were suspended in the Chamber of Deputies when an MP of the ruling PJD, Abdul Aziz Avtate, accused former finance minister Salaheddine Mezouar of accepting bribes 'under the table' in a tirade about the need for reform. MPs of Mezouar's party, the Rassemblement national des ind├ępendants (RNI), one of the largest opposition parties, expressed their anger before the speaker ended the session.

Avtate's accusation may be seen partly as a reaction to RNI deputies' acerbic criticism of the PJD's unpopular measures. Interviewed in the francophone global weekly Jeune Afrique, Mezouar said that Islamist PJD policies are just sensationalist. Elected as president of the RNI in April, Mezouar's ambition is to transform the RNI, a centrist party of technocrats and notables, into the leading opposition party.

In the November 2011 elections, the RNI won 52 seats (out of 395), as opposed to 39 in the outgoing parliament. Mezouar believes that the PJD has no real answer to current economic problems; the recent budget adopted by the Islamist-led government is simply the budget for 2012 drawn up under Mezouar last year. So far, from the RNI point of view, the Islamists have put forward fragments of legislation around religious and ideological issues to hide their incapacity to satisfy society's expectations in terms of jobs and improvements in daily life. Rather than being capable of implementing true reform, the current government prefers spectacle.

For more news and expert analysis about Morocco, please see Morocco Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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