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News from Rabat about the recent Moroccan elections paints a positive outcome for the nation’s Islamist party which is believed to have benefitted greatly from its participation in the Arab Spring earlier this year. Islamist parties have tended to fare well in the public’s view given their opposition to many of the region’s long-standing dictators. Morocco’s Justice and Development Party won 107 out of 395 seats in the nation’s parliament, ensuring that Morocco’s king will have to choose one of its own as the next prime minister as well as marking the first time the party has been formally invited into government. In spite of the Justice and Development Party’s great showing, there are many who are still pessimistic and skeptical of the democratic process in Morocco – for example, in Tunisia, “newly enfranchised populations are choosing religious parties as a rebuke to the old systems, which often espoused liberal or left-wing ideologies.” There is also a link between Islamist parties and national pride, especially when local populations feel like they are subjugated by the West. Many successful Islamist parties in the Middle East have followed the Turkish model where an Islamist party has been in charge for nearly a decade. The Turkish model combines the traditional elements of Islam with political modernity, proving that Islamic culture and liberal government can coexist.

 

[Associated Press]