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Moroccan law-maker flashes his ‘belly’ in protest

Published: Updated:

Al Arabiya
Idriss al-Radi, a Moroccan lawmaker, flashed his belly on Tuesday as an act of protest against Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.
The action sparked controversy about the political discussions taking place in parliament.

The argument between the two men occurred during a public session, which was broadcast live by a Moroccan channel.

It began when Radi, an opposition member of the parliament , accused Benkirane of deviating from the subject being tackled which was on real estate policy.

The accusation angered the prime minister who told Radi to remain quiet because he had no right to interrupt his speech.

The debate reached its peak when Benkirane implicitly addressed Radi saying: “the man must first look at what his heart and belly contain.”

Radi retaliated by flashing his belly and saying: “this is my belly. What I own is thanks to my efforts.”

However, the argument did not last for long. Photos published by media outlets showed Radi and Benkirane shaking hands after other parliamentarians intervened to reconcile them.

However, the event sparked resentment among some Moroccans who took to social media sites to air their grievances.
“The people are tired of these insinuations. If the prime minister has (evidence) on what he is accusing (Radi of,) he should (take them) to the judiciary,” one commentator wrote.

Others said that “parliamentary discussions were more useful in the past. Clowning has become (dominant) in (current) discussions.”

Some commentators wrote that the “angry parliamentarian flashed his belly to the people instead of revealing what his possessions are.”


Crisis of values

Political and constitutional lecturer doctor Othman al-Zayati commented on the incident saying such behavior reflected a crisis of values.

“This type of behavior is part of the general crisis that poisons parliamentary performance. It (reflects) the crisis of values in political behavior in general and the parliamentarian behavior in particular,” he told Al Arabiya.

He also criticized the absence of serious discussions in parliament saying: “the parliamentarian field has become a hotbed to practice some sort of ‘parliamentarian clamor’ where there is a lot of yelling and no serious fruitful discussions.”

Zayati added that the verbal clash between the premier and the consultant also showed the absence of communication between the cabinet and parliament.

Commenting on the reconciliation between Radi and Benkirane, he said although it was positive, it left a “negative impression” for citizens as it brought to mind “confirmation” that the Moroccan parliament embodies a kind of “bad theatre” and leads citizens to complain further.

He added that the parliamentary institution must display maturity and nobleness as it practices its work.