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Morocco’s next general elections will take place in September 2021. Like many of the country’s organizations and campaigns, “Aji Souwet” is an independent movement that seeks to spread awareness about the elections and encourage Moroccan youth to vote.
Morocco’s general elections of 2021 are set to be the third since the 2011 constitutional referendum.
The 2011 referendum ushered in a new constitution that sought to reinforce the powers of the Parliament and the government and allow the voices of Moroccan citizens to be heard and secure liberty, equal opportunities, and dignity for all.
However, despite the country’s continuous efforts and measures to convince more Moroccans to register on the electoral lists and vote, voter turnout was low. Only 43% of registered voters went to the polls in 2011, and 47% who were eligible did not register to vote and turned their back on the polls.
Morocco’s lack of registered voters is a clear sign of low trust in political parties and institutions. The 2019 “Trust in Institutions Index” by the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA) found that 69% of Moroccans do not trust elected officials and political parties, 75% do not trust labor unions, and 77% do not trust the government.
However, Moroccans’ registration in the electoral lists and their votes are essential for change and for a better Morocco that protects all its citizens and provides them with all their rights.
The Aji Souwet movement
Around 20 young Moroccans aged 18 to 25 founded Aji Souwet out of interest in the future of their country, firmly believing in a better Morocco.
The young Moroccan founders started the movement in response to the lack of interest youth have in politics and their weak faith in Moroccan institutions. Moroccan youth often use expressions such as “Koulhoum bhal bhal,” meaning they are all the same in their disinterest in voting.
For Moroccan youth, the political environment in Morocco is detached from daily life, complicated, and not attentive enough to the expectations of youth, who have lost hope in a common destiny, in what makes Morocco a nation.
Aji Souwet came to encourage Moroccan youth to vote in the national general elections of 2021 by registering them on the electoral lists and going to the polls when the time comes.
“We aim to make politics within our country more understandable and accessible to everyone and hopefully inspire the youngest to become actors of the political scene,” the movement told Morocco World News in an interview.
The leaders of Aji Souwet believe that the main challenge they may face in achieving their main goal is the widespread disinterest of Moroccan youth in politics given a discourse that does not target them or their interests.
Many Moroccan youth-centered movements and associations have tried to mobilize young people to vote in the past without great results. Aji Souwet says it wants “to make the difference with a speech and a language similar to the one young Moroccans use, the one that can be heard in the streets, in the universities, in the houses.”
The movement wants to make clear that only by voting can today’s youth be proud in the future that they did their part to build a more just country. Therefore, the movement relies heavily on social networks to convey this message and try to have the greatest possible impact.
How does Aji Souwet reach Moroccans?
Morocco’s 2021 general elections will hold three votes on the same day with three separate ballots for municipal, regional, and legislative elections.
Usually, the three elections take place on separate days. However, the government’s decision to hold the three votes on the same day aims to increase voter turnout.
Aji Souwet also aims to increase voter turnout and by trying to reach and encourage more Moroccan youth to register and vote through social media networks, as they first conceived the movement as an online initiative.
“We tried to make a [campaign to attract followers] that lasted a few days and was a huge success on social networks: 3,000 followers in 24 hours, dozens of relays by influencers,” the Aji Souwet founders told MWN.
During the campaign to increase the audience, the movement posted on social media short sentences and expressions young Moroccans use to describe the political scene: “They are all the same,” “Nobody believes in change anymore,” “Is another Morocco possible?”
Today, the movement is taking a more pedagogical approach. Aji Souwet is campaigning to spread awareness about voting as well as teach young Moroccans about the elections and how to quickly and simply register on electoral lists via www.listeselectorales.ma. The campaign, called #Ajitsejel (come register), aims to widely mobilize Moroccan youth to register to vote.
“Finally, another phase will see the light of day with the aim of mobilizing the greatest number of people to vote and convincing them of the importance of this essential citizen duty,” the movement’s founders said.
The importance of voting in Morocco
The lack of trust Moroccan youth have in political parties and institutions come from their dissatisfaction with political leaders and policies that do not support their personal rights and dignity.
Many Moroccan youths do not feel that their country protects them or that they have equal opportunities, pushing young people to pursue their goals and dreams abroad.
Voting in 2021 is important now more than ever, and that is because young Moroccans and the future generations cannot live under outdated laws and policies that sought to serve their parents and grandparents.
“We believe that the youth must make their concerns, criticisms, and remarks heard, and to make them heard, the only gesture at their disposal is to vote,” said the founders of Aji Souwet.
Aji Souwet believes that young people want positive change in their daily lives, whether at the local level (the local sports center) or on a more global scale. They especially believe that Moroccan youth are a vector of positive change and that instead of complaining, they should vote and take the destiny of their country into their own hands.
The Aji Souwet initiative strongly believes in a better Morocco through voting and that despite the rate of abstentions in recent years, Moroccan youth are fierce, spirited, pioneering, and proud and can be the change the country needs.
“Today’s youth are more aware of the essential issues of society, more aware of accountability and good governance,” the founders said.
“We believe that these youth who dream of a better Morocco, with more social justice, and more equality can contribute to this new Morocco through voting.”
To reach the Aji Souwet movement, you can contact them via email. If you want to learn more about the elections and how to register in the electoral lists you can check the movement’s official social media networks: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.