Across the Islamic world, Islamist groups have chosen to join popular protests stemming from the 2011 Arab Spring. In Morocco, however, an exception emerged. The country’s main Islamist opposition political party – the Justice and Development Party (hizb al-a’dala wa al-tanmia) – declined invitations to join demonstrations organized by the February 20th Movement for Change. Under what conditions do Islamist movements support Arab Spring uprisings? Why did the PJD choose to stay outside these protests demanding greater reform? The PJD, some scholars argue, did not support Arab Spring unrest because it is a co-opted Islamist movement. In contrast, I argue that the PJD refused to join the protests because it thought it could leverage them to its advantage. By threatening the Moroccan regime to leave formal party politics for the street, the Islamist party used the unrest to increase its bargaining power, sideline its rivals, and win its policy demands. This threat to “un-moderate” empowered the PJD to get what it wanted from the regime during the Arab Spring.
James D. Morrow“Alliances: Why Write Them Down?”Annual Review of Political Science3 (2000): 78-79. Also: James D. Morrow “Alliances and Asymmetry” American Journal of Political Science 35 (1991) 904-933.
In the1990sthe regime tapped Khatib to host secret peace negotiations at his home between an advisor of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Hamas leader Khalid Mashil. See: Sabah “Laqa tarikhi bayna mustashaar yitzhak rabin wa khalid mishal bibayt khatib” July 16 2012 1.
According to Ellen Lust (2005) we could consider this a transition from outside to inside the regime’s structure of contestation (pp. 38-48).
Amr Hamzawy“Party for Justice and Development in Morocco: Participation and Its Discontents,”Carnegie Papers93 (2008): 20.
Eva Wegner and Miquel Pellicer“The Moroccan Justice and Development Party in Local Government: Do Islamists Govern Differently?”Robert Schuman Centre For Advanced Studies(2009): 17-18. Andrew Watrous “Islamist Participation in Alliance-Building at the Sub-National Level in Morocco” Fulbright Moroccan Studies Symposium Presentation (2010).
Farid Boussaid“The Rise of the PAM in Morocco: Trampling the Political Scene or Stumbling into it?”Mediterranean Politics14 (2009). Kevin Köhler “All the King’s Men: The Emergence of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) in Morocco” IPRIS Maghreb Review 6 (2010): 1-2.