Publications > Previous Publications > Paper 73: Pragmatism Rather than Backlash: Moroccan Perceptions of Western Democracy Promotion
Paper 73: Pragmatism Rather than Backlash: Moroccan Perceptions of Western Democracy Promotion
Written by Anna Khakee, with Jaber Afoukane, Fouad M. Ammor, Derek Lutterbeck   
This study examines the perceptions in Morocco of Western democracy promotion amongst its main “targets” – namely, NGOs, political party activists and parliamentarians, representatives of the judiciary and the state, journalists, and academics. Underlying this question is the assumption that perceptions of the legitimacy and credibility of democracy promotion initiatives are crucial for their effectiveness.

The issue of legitimacy and credibility is particularly crucial in the Arab region, where suspicion of official political motives is rife. This report seeks to answer questions such as: Do Moroccan actors feel that they can legitimately accept democracy assistance from Western governments or organizations? Are some forms of democracy promotion, or certain sources of funding, perceived as more (or less) legitimate than others? In what ways (if at all) does Western funding alter public perceptions of the actor receiving democracy assistance? To what extent do different categories of actors (civil society activists versus civil servants, religious versus secular party representatives, etc) perceive Western democracy promotion differently?

It was found that, contrary to some expectations, there has been no severe backlash against democracy promotion in Morocco to date. Virtually no actor will outright refuse to work with Western partners: all Moroccan actors, from Islamists to feminists, are involved in some form of international collaboration.
This report was submitted by the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC), Malta, and the Groupement d’Études et de Recherches sur la Méditerranée (GERM), Rabat. The author, Anna Khakee, is an international consultant and a democratisation expert at FRIDE, Madrid. Jaber Afoukane is a PhD candidate; Fouad M. Ammor is a Research Fellow at the GERM and Derek Lutterbeck is the Deputy Director of MEDAC.

Full text in pdf