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2011-10-04

Moroccan civil society monitors elections online

By Rachid Jankari for Magharebia in Casablanca – 04/10/11

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From text messages to Facebook and Twitter, new resources are available to Moroccans to exercise their civil rights. To take advantage of the interactivity and ubiquity of information technology, the Moroccan Human Rights Association (OMDH) recently created a website to serve as an online monitoring centre for the kingdom's November 25th legislative elections.

Launched September 26th in a trial version, Marsad.ma is a platform that enables people to find information on the elections. In addition, it allows citizens and observers to monitor the vote by reporting and learning about incidents, failures or irregularities associated with the election process. The full site is set to go live a month before the poll.

"This year, given the changes occurring across the region and the importance of the internet as a citizenship tool, we decided to explore digital technology and new media," said Mounir Bensalah, an observer and member of the Marsad team.

More specifically, the website will enable local OMDH observers to gather, process and check information. "It's also a special tool that offers better and wide coverage of the country by encouraging citizens to get involved in the observation process," Bensalah added.

The initiative draws on the experience of similar projects in several countries around the world, such as the Kenyan site Ushahidi.com. The Kenyan civic monitoring website was launched in the aftermath of the bloodshed that followed the 2008 presidential elections.

The Marsad project arose out of feedback from the OMDH and civil-society groups, which have monitored elections in Morocco since 2002.

Internet users will be able to submit observations publicly or anonymously by filling in an online form on the incident they have observed, the location and the date. Another feature of the site allows photos and video footage to be attached to every report.

"The functionalities of the Marsad website are well suited to the Moroccan electoral context and the failings that could occur during the forthcoming elections," said Omar El Hayani, a blogger and member of the Twitter community Twittoma.

"One small flaw is that the creation of Arabic versions of some sections has not yet been completed," he added.

The Marsad homepage will not be the only avenue for submitting reports. In parallel with the website, the monitoring tool will also enable internet users and observers to use other ways of reporting incidents during the elections – in particular, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter.

"The ideal situation will be one where complaints reported on the Marsad website will be verifiable and could serve as evidence in court against fraudsters," El Hayani said.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    الفقيه بن صالح 2011-11-17

    Salam alikum. How can you say that you are observing elections while votes are sold in the province of Fqih Ben Saleh and Khouribga under the table and openly?

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    احمد 2011-11-11

    I hope mad people of elections will return to reason. Their greediness has reached the point of making them wish to win in the coming elections in illegal ways such as illegal money and thus cause Moroccans a big disaster. Believe me, we live an unusual situation in the district of Ben Ahmed, province of Settat as a result of the reckless behavior of the representative El Harami Larbi who manages to win every time since 1992 through deceptive ways with the blessing of local and regional authorities. Now he has nominated his son to make things worse. Any of the candidates who wish to win, just need the approval of this individual and secure an easy win. O Lord ruin him and relieve us of him, amen! I ask God to ruin these people and clean the kingdom from such people and those who serve them!

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    kaaouachi 2011-10-23

    I hope that all the political parties will be fully responsible for taking responsibility and handling these decision centres. I think that the manipulations of time and corruption have come to an end. This phase is between a rock and a hard place and I think that it is the last chance for the political parties to have credibility. They should collect themselves for the renaissance of the Kingdom of Morocco, which is in completion with Europe for democratic construction under the wise guidance of His Majesty, the King, May God protect him.

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  4. Anonymous thumb

    احمد 2011-10-17

    Salam alikum. Are political parties capable of activating the constitution and conducting elections without corruption? This is impossible and hopeless.

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  5. Anonymous thumb

    bouba 2011-10-9

    Salam to all the Moroccans- How is it going? I have something to say on this subject. We are the failures. We are the ones who spoke without really changing anything in this country. I want to see Morocco like Europe, God willing. Bye. Thank you, all the Moroccans. Stay strong!

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