Citizen participation in Morocco, between legal texts and the implementation of mechanisms, was at the center of the last weekly session of the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS). Moderated by Aimane Cherragui, expert in civil advocacy mechanisms and citizen participation, the session returned to the very principle of this participation, before detailing its concepts.
So, the expert first defined citizen participation as a principle whose concepts, frameworks and representations differ to the point of being confused with the principle of participatory democracy as provided for in the 2011 constitution, in addition to the mechanisms of participation in the thing public made available to citizens.
Addressing the second axis, Aimane Cherragui then underlined the absence of a specific Moroccan strategy for youth while there are inactive advisory councils, noting that “it is thus difficult to define the category of young people. Certainly, several initiatives exist such as youth cards, youth centers, etc. That said, there is no unified framework, nor circles of communication between the public sectors and this active category of society ”.
This problem appears more seriously when we know the place of young people in associative action and the position it enjoys, he added, citing a study carried out by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council dating from 2018, of which he It appears that the participation rate of young people in associative action reaches 12%, against only 1% in unions and parties.
This is perhaps due to the nature of the associative offer which allows young people to develop their skills and capacities in a spirit of flexibility and innovation. On the other hand, a field study indicates that thirteen associations out of twenty have been chaired by the same people since the date of their creation and that the average age of the president by association is 43.75 years. In addition, young people represent only 2.9% of the members elected within the offices of each association.
According to Aimane Cherragui, this is such a widespread national phenomenon that we speak of association of such and such a person, that is to say associations linked to individuals rather than to associative objectives. The solution is to get rid of traditional operating mechanisms and create new models.
Still according to the speaker, there is a growing awareness while a new associative spirit is being born. The numbers can therefore change within 5 to 10 years.
On another level, Aimane Cherragui evoked the modes of representative democracy which strengthens citizen participation such as the presentation of petitions, public consultations, civil forums, the pressure exerted on political actors thanks to the right of access to information… The mechanisms exist in great number, but are not widely used and not everyone is aware of them.
At this stage, he says, another problem arises, in that these mechanisms have a high cost in terms of effort and time and require going through several administrative procedures that are difficult to coordinate, while their impact remains rather modest.
To conclude, the expert proposed some solutions likely to encourage the presentation of petitions and motions while enhancing their effectiveness in order to raise the level of access to information: cancellation of the obligation to register on the lists elections, reduction in the number of signatures required, awareness of the importance of access to information.
According to him, a minimum of openness, transparency, clarity, communication and well-targeted services can be enough to regain the confidence of Moroccan citizens.