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Istiqlal Sec-Gen: We Are the Alternative - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Fez – Hamid Chabat, Secretary General of Istiqlal Party, described the current polarity between the opposing party Authenticity and Modernity and Justice and Development as fake and imposed.

Chabat presented his party as the alternative of both parties.

Chabat, Former mayor of Fez, said that he is qualified for the government’s presidency if his party wins because: “Running a town is harder than running the government.”

In his interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Chabat stressed that he believes that the Sec-Gen of the winning party should not be the prime minister, adding that his party can’t force the king to name the sec-gen as a prime minister.

When asked about the announcement to recant the governmental reforms, Chabat said he believed the reforms should be reviewed because pay cuts reached 1200 and 1500 Dirhams (around $150).

He added that setting the pension age to 63 years will increase unemployment among youth.

Chabat stressed that he didn’t lose the city of Fez during the September 04 election, adding that it was an opportunity for another party to run the city so that citizens can compare their performances.

He said that just as the government failed, the officials failed in local affairs.

Chabat announced earlier that the prime minister shouldn’t be the secretary general of the winning party. Thus he should choose between being a sec-gen or a prime minister.

When asked if he thinks he is fit for being a prime minister if his party wins the elections, Chabat said that this is not negotiable.

He added that Istiqlal Party is the only party capable of managing through hard times.

According to Chabat, Istiqlal Party is the main player in the Moroccan political scene and the Moroccan people knows it. He added the government of Abbas El-Fassi achieved 85% of its political program, whereas the current government doesn’t exceed 10%.

Chabat said they don’t question whether the Ministry of Interior is impartial or not, they have just suggested a new thing because it gives hope to the people.

He added that despite the ministry’s measures, there are fears based on previous experiences regarding the integrity of the elections. He explained that what is new today is that the Prime Minister oversees the elections politically, and is the president of the central committee of elections which includes for the first time the Minister of Interior and Minister of Justice.

Chabat gave an example of France where once the politician is elected as a prime minister, he resigns from his position in the party. He added that this is true democracy because holding both positions is not fair for other political components and that’s what he is calling for.

The sec-gen said that the elections system doesn’t allow parties to form coalitions, especially that every party has its own agenda and program. He cited the ruling party saying that Istiqlal withdrew from the government and caused confusion.

He said that if Justice and Development Party wants to succeed it should work with the Istiqlal Party, and not call for its withdrawal.

He added that the disagreement with Justice and Development Party is about the increase in prices because he believes that the Moroccan people can’t afford it anymore.

The sec-gen said that competition among parties is fair and it is only fair for the party to defend its ideas and points of view. He confirmed that no one is dominating over the Istiqlal Party, adding that the government is being arbitral when it doesn’t include opposition parties in any discussion. Thus, according to Chabat, the government has no right to claim that it is being ruled by any party.

When asked about the polarity between Justice and Development Party and Authenticity and Modernity Party, Chabat described it as “fake” and aiming to deceive the public. He added that the Moroccan people are smart and nothing can be imposed on them.

Chabat strongly denied the media allegations of him suggesting that Benkiran belonged to ISIS. He said that it is within his rights to question the government and ask about its position regarding ISIS, adding that it was merely a discussion about this organization. He said that it suffices for Benkiran to have said that they don’t acknowledge ISIS, and that will be it.

Chabat said that the media is expecting Istiqlal to win because of its positions, but he said that the party represents the people and is ready to work on all the issues mentioned in their electoral program.