- Mouvement Populaire
- (MP)This is a political party in Morocco, and it is known by its Arabic name, Al Haraka al-Sha`biyyah. It emerged soon after the achievement of the country's independence, originally in the Rif regions among the former officers of the Liberation Army (Jaysh al-Tahrir), but quickly spread also among the people of the Atlas and the Tafilalet. During its early formative stages, the party embodied the resentment felt by certain members toward the dominating position and usurpation of power by members of the Istiqlal Party who had never participated in the actual combat. The founding members were Haddu Rifi, a lieutenant in the Liberation Army; Doctor `Abd al-Karim, a physician of Casablanca; and Mahjoubi Ahardan, former captain in the French army, then governor of the province of Rabat.The movement rapidly gained a growing number of adherents and sympathizers, especially in the armed forces, but also made many potent enemies. Hence, in 1957, it came forth with a party program, but it was banned allegedly because of illegal formation, and Mahjoubi Ahardan was removed from office. Yet the tensions in the Rif and the Tafilalet regions increased and, in October 1958, broke out into serious disturbances on the occasion of the funeral of a Berber commander (`Abbes Massaadi) of the Liberation Army, assassinated allegedly by Ben Barka in Fès (Pennell 2000, 304), which was attended by 5,000 tribesmen and conducted by Dr. Khatib and Mahjoubi Ahardan. A few days later, both men were arrested. This was the beginning of a popular rising directed against the regime and politics of the Istiqlal Party that started in Oulmes, Ahardan's native region in the Middle Atlas, and spread southward into the valleys of the High Atlas and the Tafilalet region. In December 1958, a new cabinet came to power, Khatib and Ahardan were set free, and the Mouvement Populaire was formally recognized. Subsequently, both men were entrusted with numerous positions in the government of Morocco. The party has been resolutely royalist since its formation, and this may explain its prolonged existence.The Mouvement Populaire has primarily a rural base. It stands for rural smallholders and the landless poor as well as low-skilled urban labor. Its programs stress improved social services, agricultural cooperatives, and state-based development equitably distributed between rural and urban areas. The party wants to secure the poor and the marginalized a measure of influence on social and economic policy, commensurate with its position as the majority of the population. In 1986, Mahjoubi Ahardan was removed from the position of leadership in the MP and then formed a new party, the Mouvement National Populaire. The reorganized Mouvement Populaire, under Mohand Laenser, has increased its share of parliamentary seats since the 1993 elections. In the 2002 elections, it won 27 seats.
Historical Dictionary of the Berbers (Imazighen) . Hsain Ilahiane. 2014.