Morocco’s Elections: The Limits of Limited Reforms

Issue Date January 2008
Volume 19
Issue 1
Page Numbers 19-33
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Morocco’s experience suggests that expanded political liberty, especially freedom of association, can facilitate the emergence of multiple versions of political Islam, reducing the salience of a large, undifferentiated Islamist movement as an umbrella for oppositionist sentiment. The best means for containing potentially destabilizing discontent and promoting moderation among potentially antidemocratic forces are a pluralized political space and iterative free elections. The dilemmas that the king must now resolve in the face of citizen alienation reveal the limits of a strategy of gradual liberalization stage-managed from on high by a pro-Western autocrat.