Illegal spending allegations fly ahead of Morocco vote

Illegal spending allegations fly ahead of Morocco vote
2 min read
04 September, 2021
One of Morocco's leading political parties was on Friday fending off a chorus of accusations of illegal campaign spending, days ahead of September 8 parliamentary elections.
Supporters of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces party (USFP) cheer their candidate [Getty]

One of Morocco's leading political parties was on Friday fending off a chorus of accusations of illegal campaign spending, days ahead of September 8 parliamentary elections.

The National Rally of Independents (RNI), led by billionaire businessman and agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch, said it "rejected categorically" the claims from its rivals.

Another of the three parties expected to take the most seats in the vote, the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), said RNI was "flooding the political scene with money".

RNI, a member of the incumbent governing coalition, called the allegations from PAM chief Abdellatif Ouahbi "dangerous" and "likely to tarnish the image of the kingdom".

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Meanwhile the governing moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) blasted "obscene use of funds to attract voters," without naming the supposed culprits.

In power since the time of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 but without control of key ministries, the PJD is expected to carve up the lion's share of votes with the RNI and PAM.

RNI leader Akhannouch is one of the wealthiest men in Morocco and believed to be close to the king.

His party currently holds top portfolios including the economy and finance and industry.

Meanwhile PAM was the biggest rival to the Islamists at the last polls in 2016.

Some 18 million Moroccans are eligible to vote for the 395-seat national parliament and tens of thousands of local and regional officials on September 8.