National Rally of Independents
Arabic: التجمع الوطني للأحرار‎
French: Rassemblement National des Indépendants
Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⴰⴳⵔⴰⵡ ⴰⵏⴰⵎⵓⵔ ⵢ ⵉⵏⵙⵉⵎⴰⵏⵏ
PresidentAziz Akhannouch
FounderAhmed Osman
Founded28 November 1978 (1978-11-28)
HeadquartersRabat
IdeologyClassical liberalism[1][2]
Economic liberalism
Monarchism
Political positionCentre[3] to centre-right[4][5]
Regional affiliationAfrica Liberal Network
European affiliationEuropean People’s Party
International affiliationLiberal International (observer)
Colours  Sky blue
  Yellow
House of Representatives
102 / 395
House of Councillors
8 / 120
Website
www.rni.ma

The National Rally of Independents (Arabic: التجمع الوطني للأحرار‎; Standard Moroccan Tamazight: ⴰⴳⵔⴰⵡ ⴰⵏⴰⵎⵓⵔ ⵢ ⵉⵏⵙⵉⵎⴰⵏⵏ; French: Rassemblement National des Indépendants, RNI) is a political party in Morocco. Despite self-identifying as social-democratic, the party has been described as pro-business and liberal, and the party has a history of cooperating with two other parties with a liberal orientation, the Popular Movement and the Constitutional Union, since 1993.

History and profile

The party was founded in 1978[6] by Prime Minister Ahmed Osman, brother-in-law of King Hassan II.

The establishment united independent politicians favoured by the palace and used by the administration to counter the parties that were critical of the king and his government. Later, it became an ordinary party without a special role in Morocco's multi-party system. It was succeeded by the Constitutional Union as the palace's favourite party.[7]

In the parliamentary election held on 27 September 2002, the party won 41 out of 325 seats. In the next parliamentary election, held on 7 September 2007, the RNI won 39 out of 325 seats.[8] The RNI was included in the government of Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi, formed on 15 October 2007.[9]

After the 2016 parliamentary election, billionaire businessman Aziz Akhannouch was elected party president.[10] He undertook a major image revamp for the party, establishing party youth, women's, and student wings, and created a large social media presence for the RNI, spending US$211,000 on Facebook and Instagram ads.[11] Akhannouch also launched the "100 Villes, 100 Jours" (100 Cities, 100 Days) party initiative in which RNI officials and supporters travelled to 100 cities in Morocco, particularly medium and small-sized cities, in 100 days to have their citizens insert proposals for their cities.[12]

In the 2021 general election, the RNI placed first, winning 102 seats amid a crushing defeat for the ruling Justice and Development Party.[13] Akhannouch was then designated Prime Minister by Mohammed VI.

Prominent members

  • Ahmed Osman, founder
  • Salaheddine Mezouar, government minister (2007–2012) and current Secretary General of the party.
  • Moncef Belkhayat, government minister (2009–2012)
  • Amina Benkhadra, government minister (2007–2012)
  • Yassir Znagui, government minister (2010–2011). Left the party in late 2011 after being nominated by the King to join the Royal Cabinet as an adviser.
    1. ^ Cavatorta, Francesco; Storm, Lise; Resta, Valeria (2020). Routledge Handbook on Political Parties in the Middle East and North Africa. Routledge. p. 103. ISBN 9781000293302.
    2. ^ "حزب التجمع الوطني للأحرار". Al Jazeera. 6 September 2007. Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
    3. ^ "Morocco's Governing Islamists Remain Vulnerable".
    4. ^ Souad Mekhennet; Maia de la Baume (26 November 2011). "Moderate Islamist Party Winning Morocco Election". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
    5. ^ "Socialists set to win Morocco poll". BBC News. 30 September 2002. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
    6. ^ "Moroccan Political Parties". Riad Reviews. Archived from the original on 16 October 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
    7. ^ Bernabé López García (2013), "Morocco: regime and fuse", Political Regimes in the Arab World: Society and the Exercise of Power, Routledge, p. 102
    8. ^ "Moroccans favor conservative party instead of ushering in Islamic party", Associated Press, 9 September 2007.
    9. ^ "Le roi nomme un nouveau gouvernement après des tractations difficiles", AFP, 15 October 2007 (in French).
    10. ^ https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/morocco-aziz-akhannouch-billionaire-service-his-majesty-mohammed-vi
    11. ^ https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2021/09/344343/rni-sweeps-2021-national-elections-as-pjd-support-disintegrates
    12. ^ https://new.in-24.com/News/74972.html
    13. ^ Reuters (9 September 2021). "Morocco elections: Islamists suffer losses as liberal parties gain ground". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2021.