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2021 Elections: Thematic observation is a new approach highlighting details of the relationship between electoral process and human rights

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) adopted a new observation methodology in the 2021 elections. It is based on conducting online and offline observation of all stages of the electoral process of the Communal, Regional and Legislative elections which took place on 8 September 2021. The CNDH included thematic observation of political parties programs focusing on monitoring women’s rights and the rights of persons with disabilities within 6446 thematic forms.

The CNDH adopted this vision in line with its action plan related to promoting parity and the effectiveness of the rights of persons with disabilities. This new approach sheds light on the details of the relationship between electoral process and human rights.

Political parties programs

The CNDH noted that only 45% of the forms related to political parties programs presented at the local and regional levels contribute to promoting the participation of women and youth.

Also, only less than 50% are committed to preserve natural resources and below 33% promote the strengthening of soil resistance to the effects of climate change.

Furthermore, under 32% contribute to alternative energies programs and less than 42% encourage the preservation of water resources.

However, these programs are committed to increasing financial resources for education and health, ensuring the right to the city, the right to adequate housing, the right to culture, and supporting the presence of Amazigh language in public life in 48%, 13.7%, 24.7%, 32% and 24% of the forms, respectively.

Among the most prominent CNDH notes regarding the political parties’ electoral programs is that the majority and opposition parties in parliament stressed the importance of the content of the National Charter for Development. The CNDH indicated that the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to rearranging public policy priorities in parties’ programs by setting up the human capital investment in high positions, through the right to education, health and social protection.

Fighting discrimination against women

Within the framework of its action plan aiming at achieving parity, the CNDH emphasized the principle of anti-discrimination in its election observation. The CNDH set up a thematic form on discrimination against women and conducted monitoring on the parties' programs and their electoral campaign.

In this regard, the CNDH noted that while women represent more than half (50.3%) of the Moroccan population, they are only 46% of citizens registered in the electoral lists, compared to 54% of men. The number of citizens registered in electoral lists is 17,983,490.

The CNDH also noted that 34.17% of women stand for election of the House of Representatives,30% for the Communal Councils, and 40% for the Regional Councils, in line with legal requirements.

The Organic Law N° 04-21 modifying and completing the Organic Law N° 27-11 relating to the House of Representatives, provides regional lists for women at legislative elections level and establishing lists for women and supplementary seats in Communes subject to individual suffrage.

However, the CNDH noted that despite the strengthening of legal mechanisms for women’s participation in political life, the effect of the law on women’s political empowerment by improving their legal status in society is still limited and slow.

Persons with disabilities

The CNDH and its National Mechanism for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities launched, on 13 August 2021, an online awareness campaign to promote the right to political participation and to contribute to strengthening the exercise of this right without discrimination as stipulated in the Moroccan Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

This campaign was an opportunity to stress that persons with disabilities have the right to vote and stand for elections without discrimination.

The preliminary data available to the CNDH, so far, indicates the beginning of a positive evolution regarding the participation of persons with disabilities in the 2021 elections, compared to the previous ones. The number of persons with disabilities standing for elections reached 120 who were recommended by 15 parties. This number has increased 60% compared to the previous election, where 50 candidates were recommended by three parties only.

Several candidates ranked high in the electoral lists and others as delegates, of whom 13% are women. Three political parties used sign language in their election campaign.

Downlaod the Initial Report of the 8 September 2021 Election Observation (Available in Arabic)