The Fight for Istiqlal Becomes Tense as Parties Build Coalitions

Rabat – After Friday’s national legislative elections, political parties have begun holding meetings to determine their alliances for the next five years.The elections gave a 55-seat boost to the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) and an 18-seat increase to the ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) – revealing a new bipolarity in Moroccan politics that pits secularists against Islamists.Neither PAM, nor PJD holds a majority of seats, meaning alliances with the Istiqlal Party, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and other moderately powerful parties will be essential in determining the legislative strength of the opposition and government coalitions. PAM’s Ilyas El-Omari, Istiqlal’s Hamid Chabat and USFP’s Driss Lachgar held an unofficial meeting on Saturday to see if the three-way opposition coalition could be feasible. No final decision has yet been made regarding the alliance, according to Le360.Together, the trio would control 168 seats, while the PJD alone holds 125 seats.If Istiqlal (46 seats) chooses to side with the PJD, the government coalition would have power over 210 seats, when the Popular Movement (27 seats), and the Party of Progress and Socialism (12 seats) are taken into account.The PAM’s success in doubling its presence in the House and PJD’s modest rise in representation caused several other parties to hemorrhage seats on October 7th.Voters awarded the National Rally of Independents, which used to be led by Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar before he resigned yesterday, 37 seats – 15 less than they did in 2011.The Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) saw its representation in the parliament nearly halve, from 39 seats in the previous elections, to 20 seats this time around.The Constitutional Union (UC) lost four seats and the Popular Movement (MP) lost five. read more

Crescent Point adjusts executive pay cuts spending as proxy battle nears end

CALGARY — Crescent Point Energy is adjusting its executive pay criteria, cutting $25 million from 2018 capital spending and announcing an asset sale to pay down debt as it faces a showdown with a dissident shareholder at its annual meeting on Friday.It reported a surprise net loss of $91 million or 17 cents per share for the three months ended March 31, compared with a net profit of $119 million in the year-earlier period. Analysts had expected a profit of seven cents according to Thomson Reuters.The company has been roundly criticized by Cation Capital Inc., which attributes its poor share performance to unwise spending decisions and overly-generous executive compensation.The dissident shareholder has nominated four directors to be elected to Crescent Point’s 10-director board on Friday, a move opposed by the Calgary-based company.On a conference call to discuss first-quarter results on Thursday, Crescent Point executives said they would not comment on which side is leading so far in shareholder voting.Cation spokesman Dan Gagnier says the vote is “too close to call” and added a media report from an unnamed source suggesting the dissident slate has already been defeated shouldn’t be believed.Crescent Point says its board of directors has added a drilling rate-of-return metric to its pay-for-performance plan to “incorporate feedback and further align compensation with returns and capital allocation.”It added it has a deal to sell $225 million in non-core assets to an unnamed buyer that is expected to close before June 30, and that its spending this year will fall to $1.775 billion.Crescent Point’s operating earnings were $63 million versus $62 million in the first quarter of 2017.It reported production of 178,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 173,300 boe/d in the same period of last year. read more