Union Socialiste Des Forces Populaires (USFP)

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UNION SOCIALISTE DES FORCES POPULAIRES (USFP)

Moroccan Socialist political party.

The Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires (Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP) was formed in 1974 by a large breakaway faction of the Union Nationale des Forces Populaires (National Union of Popular Forces, UNFP) led by Abderrahim Bouabid. A member of the Socialist International and strongly nationalist, the USFP supports the Moroccan government's stand on Western Sahara and it has consistently opposed the United Nations referendum plan for the region. The position of general secretary has been held by Bouabid (19741992) and Abderrahmane Youssoufi (1992). Most of its membersprimarily teachers, students, and government workerscome from urban middle-class backgrounds. During the 1990s the party, which in the past had a strong constituency among students, workers, and the unemployed, lost ground in favor of Morocco's Islamist parties, mainly the moderate Justice et Développement Party (Justice and Development, PJD) and the now illegal Al-Adl waʾl Ihsan (Justice and Charity Organization) headed by Abdessalam Yassine. The USFP is closely allied with the Democratic Labor Confederation, one of Morocco's leading trade unions.

Following the establishment of a bicameral system in 1997 and the elections that took place amid wide accusations of fraud, King Hassan II appointed Youssoufi prime minister in February 1998. Together with the Istiqlal Party, the USFP formed the core of the new government. The USFP won the legislative elections of 27 September 2002, which were marked by low participation (51.5%) and the success of the Islamist PJD. After the elections, the USFP announced that it would not form a cabinet with the PJD but would instead resuscitate its alliance with the Istiqlal Party. Despite the victory of the USFP, the king appointed Driss Jetou of the Istiqlal Party prime minister in October 2002, amid protests from the USFP and other parties. Differences over the USFP's role after 1998 have caused strains in relations with other member parties of the national democratic bloc, or Kutla. In the municipal elections of September 2003, which took place in the aftermath of bomb attacks that killed forty-five people in Casablanca and severely restricted the participation of Islamist parties, the USFP ranked second after the Istiqlal party, winning 14.2 percent of the vote and 3,373 of the total 23,689 local council seats.

see also istiqlal party: morocco; union nationale des forces populaires (unfp); western sahara; youssoufi, abderrah-mane.


Bibliography


Hughes, Stephen O. Morocco under King Hassan. Reading, U.K.: Ithaca, 2001.

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