Elections in Morocco Could Mean Progress for Religious Freedom
09/13/2021 Morocco (International Christian Concern) – Last week, Morocco held its parliamentary elections, which resulted in a victory for the country’s liberal RNI party, winning the most seats in the 395-seat Parliament. According to a report from Reuters, the victory will most likely force the PJD Islamist party out of its position on the coalition government to the opposition, after suffering a defeat and securing only 12 seats.
In a region that has seen a deterioration of religious freedom in recent years, this election sets Morocco apart from its North African neighbors as a positive example for human rights. North Africa is notorious for its persecution of Christians, largely due to the discriminatory legal structures in place to deter Christian worship and conversion to Christianity. For example, multiple North African countries currently have blasphemy laws as part of their penal codes, which criminalize blasphemy against Islam and are used disproportionately to punish Christians for living out their own faith.
Although the recent victory of the RNI party could indicate a break from the mold for Morocco, as a constitutional monarchy, the government is still largely under the control of a king. Therefore, despite now controlling the most seats in Parliament at 97, the RNI will still face more challenges to promoting human rights during their rule. Additionally, the RNI will have to work with other parties to form a majority coalition in a power sharing agreement.
Human rights activists will be watching Morocco closely in the coming months and years in the hope that the RNI victory will improve religious freedom conditions within the country and serve as a model for its North African neighbors.
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