As Ben Barka’s political stock grew, so did the ire of the King. The Istiqlal movement regularly experienced police resistance due to their direct opposition and undermining of monarchical influence. However, Morocco entered a difficult period economically and politically following decolonisation from France in 1956. Moreover, the Istiqlal party had become a political opponent despite having worked together with the Royal Family to claim Morocco’s independence. Parallel to his ascension to the throne in 1961, the leftist movement had questioned his ‘lack of legitimacy in comparison to his father’s reign’ (Benmoussa, 2014). On top of that, they were unimpressed with his lack of effort to reclaim territories that were lost during the colonial era.
With this in mind, the Moroccan royal knew that his image with the general public was suffering as a result and changes were necessary. In response to his declining image and to compete politically, he issued a new constitution, developed judicial laws and called for a general election in an effort to democratise the state and boost morale. Moreover, the king formed a new party the FDIC (Front for the Defence of Constitutional Institutions) and took control of another, the Popular Movement in an attempt to monopolise political influence in the country. In spite of the popularity that monarchy managed to attain during the forthcoming elections, it was newly formed UNFP that came out the victor alongside various other leftist parties like the Istiqlal movement, accumulating 56.5% of the voting public.
Unsatisfied with the outcome, King Hassan declared political war with his opponents, issuing arrest warrants for various opposition leaders. This led Ben Barka fleeing the country to Algeria, in the process becoming a political asylum seeker. Like Morocco, Algeria were going through a similar transitional phase of decolonisation. Though, the circumstances were quite different as unlike the former, the latter had just ended a war on its independence against the French sovereignty, and suffered heavily as a result. Ben Barka knew of this and openly emphasised with their cause.