Pragmatism Rather than Backlash: Moroccan Perceptions of Western Democracy Promotion

November 2008


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 hidden 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?

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