Moroccans were urged to renew the House of Representatives as well as municipal and regional councils. Pending the official results, RFI went to meet the Tafra research center: young Moroccans who contribute to the democratic debate by relying on several disciplines.
From our special correspondent in Rabat,
In an apartment in the Hassan district of Rabat, they are engineers, geographers, statisticians and defend a scientific approach, based on the collection and analysis of data to contribute to the democratic debate.
“Morocco publishes relatively little data. Election data were not available before 2015. Even today, details are missing “, explains Karim El Hajjaji, president and co-founder of Tafra.
To illustrate how the analysis of statistics can turn the arm to preconceived ideas, he gives the example of blank ballot papers.
In Morocco, in previous elections, blank ballot papers were the second or third “political party”. There is an assumption that it is because the vote is complex, that the vote lacks readability and that people make mistakes. But when you go to the province where the degree of illiteracy is the highest and the degree of candidate is the lowest, it is this province that registers at least a few blank votes and therefore this contradicts the hypothesis of lack of competence among the voters. This may assume that it is a deliberate choice, that the voters who deliver a blank vote express something. “
Rabat, a capital without a website The members of Tafra want to bring citizens closer to politics. The collection of information and the resulting analyzes are posted online. They hope that this election in 2021 will have enough “data” (massive numbers) to make comparisons between election deadlines and also restore new information, especially the list of candidates (which has not been published by the various parties so far). “This allows you to know who is running for the first time or who has changed political party, a common phenomenon in Morocco. “
Combining election data with socio-economic data also makes it possible to know who went to the polls, for whom and why. “It is important for researchers and decision-makers to have as much factual information as possible. How can a political party meet the expectations of its citizens if it does not know why it has won or lost in a particular constituency? ”
Another project led by the Tafra Center, “Smiig Data” (for “guaranteed minimum institutional information threshold”), coordinated by Sara Mejdoubi to identify the websites of Moroccan municipalities with more than 50,000 inhabitants. “So far, this is the case for only 41% of them.”
The project aims to support municipal teams so that they can equip themselves with this interface or improve it to share citizens with information that is useful for civilian life: public spending, municipal council deliberations, etc.
“This is necessary in order to hold public authorities accountable.” And there is still a long way to go … On the podium in cities with the most successful seats at the citizen level, there are two modest-sized municipalities in southern Morocco, while the big metropolises are lagging behind. “The most obvious is Rabat, our capital, which does not have a website!”