Morocco’s Istiqlal party elects new leader

Nizar Baraka, here shown in 2016, has been elected head of Morocco's oldest political party. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2017
0

Morocco’s Istiqlal party elects new leader

RABAT, Morocco: Morocco’s oldest political party Istiqlal has elected former finance minister Nizar Baraka as its new leader, the party said on its website.
On Saturday, Baraka won 924 votes, largely beating his predecessor as head of the party Hamid Chabat, who secured 234 votes.
Seen as a “man of consensus,” Baraka served as finance minister from 2012 to 2013 after years as minister of state for economic affairs.
Since 2013, he had been chairman of the official Economic, Social and Environmental Council.
His grandfather Allal El Fassi was an emblematic nationalist figure in Morocco who in his time also headed the same party.
Baraka succeeds Chabat, a trade unionist who was seen as a troublemaker in Moroccan politics and was facing opposition within the party.
Istiqlal, which means independence, played a major role in Morocco’s fight for independence from French and Spanish rule.
Nationalist and conservative, Istiqlal dominated Morocco’s political life until 2011, when the Islamist Justice and Development Party won general elections following Arab Spring-inspired protests.
In legislative elections last year, Istiqlal came third. It is not part of the current coalition.


HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

Updated 1 min 9 sec ago
0

HRW slams Morocco over journalist’s 3-year jail term

  • Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for “not denouncing” attempts to harm state security
  • Well known for criticising the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence

TUNIS: Human Rights Watch (HRW) criticized a Morocco court on Wednesday for sentencing a prominent journalist to three years in prison on a “dubious charge” relating to a northern protest movement.
Hamid el Mahdaoui was sentenced in June for “not denouncing” attempts to harm state security after he received a call from a man who said he planned to create armed strife in Morocco.
The court had rejected Mahdaoui’s defense that as a journalist he often receives calls from strangers and that he felt the man’s claims were “idle chatter,” HRW said.
Well known for criticizing the Moroccan government on social media, Mahdaoui is already serving a one-year sentence for inciting protests.
He received the call during the thousands-strong Al-Hirak al-Shaabi (Popular Movement) demonstrations that rocked the Rif region in 2016 and 2017.
HRW’s Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said the charges against him “reek of an arbitrary use of the law on an outspoken journalist by authorities who have been radically reducing the space for critical reporting and commentary.”