Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2008

Party for Justice and Development in Morocco: Participation and Its Discontents

Amr Hamzawy

July 2008

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Morocco's leading Islamist party-the Party for Justice and Development Party (PJD)-is facing growing disillusionment among its supporters after moderating its policies but failing to gain greater influence over policy. Focusing on economic and legal reforms-advocating the redistribution of power in Morocco's restricted political environment-failed to gain it greater political influence and opened it to accusation from more hardline Islamist movements of compromising their religious commitments for political advancement, argues a new paper by Amr Hamzawy.

The PJD, since its creation in 1992, has long been a peaceful political party, separate from its parent religious movement. Its decision to deemphasize religious and moral issues, however, has alienated some of its constituents, forcing the party to compete for their allegiance with more fundamentalist Islamist movements. In Party for Justice and Development in Morocco: Participation and Its Discontents, Hamzawy analyzes the institutional and political conditions that shaped the PJD, its policy priorities, and its impact on Morocco's political environment.

Key Conclusions:

Hamzawy concludes:

"The PJD is struggling to redefine a sustainable and practical balance between the pragmatic demands of participation and those dictated by the Islamist frame of reference. The task is becoming progressively more difficult, especially in light of growing popular disenchantment with the political process and the increased significance of strong rejectionist Islamist currents. As of now, the PJD has plunged into exhaustive debates about the movement's priorities with the costly consequence of losing its sense of strategic orientation."