“It is the Moroccan people who will have the last word,” His Majesty King Mohammed VI
Washington, DC (March 10)—Yesterday, His Majesty King Mohammed VI announced a comprehensive set of constitutional reforms and far-reaching regionalization initiative to advance and broaden the democratic reforms that have been underway in the country for more than two decades. The new proposals will strengthen Morocco’s elected government, move forward on an independent judiciary, and further empower local communities and regions. Revisions to the Constitution will be made with input from its political parties and civil society and be voted on by the Moroccan people.
“This constitutional reform is a milestone in the consolidation of our distinctive model which is based on democracy and the pursuit of development,” His Majesty the King said. “I am fully aware of the immense challenges ahead,” but “just as deeply committed to giving strong momentum to the substantial reforms under way.” He acknowledged “the legitimate aspirations” Moroccans expressed in largely peaceful marches last month and called on citizens, political parties and civil society to join “to ensure the success of this crucial constitutional undertaking.”
International commendation and support for the proposals have been swift and clear. The United States praised the King’s speech for “continuing to move in a positive direction to respond to the aspirations of his own people.” “We do see the King as a reformer and has already taken substantial reforms,” added US State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at a press briefing today.
France called it “responsible and courageous,” and a “major speech for Morocco and the entire region, particularly given the current context.” “We [France] have full confidence in the determination of the Moroccan people and authorities to carry out the announced reforms as well as develop their own democratic model.” Spain praised Morocco for initiating “political reforms that will lead to a better democracy, a better system of freedoms, guarantees and rights,” calling the initiative “a moment of great importance.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was also quick to endorse the Moroccan reforms and the UN spokesperson said that the initiative was a “clear indication” that the “King of Morocco listens to his people.” Britain commended “the King’s bold commitment to intensifying and quickening the pace of political and economic reform.”
Highlights of the new reform measures and initiatives announced by His Majesty King Mohammed VI yesterday include:
1. A robust regionalization initiative transferring power from central state authorities in the regions to elected local and regional officials more accountable to citizens.
2. Appointing the Prime Minister from the winning party in parliamentary elections as elected head of the executive branch.
3. Expanding the scope and powers of the lower house of Parliament to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission.
4. Strengthening the role of political parties, including opposition parties, and civil society.
5. Reinforcing the independence of the Judiciary from Executive and Legislative branches.
6. Setting a date in June for Constitutional revisions from the appointed committee charged with consulting throughout Moroccan society to recommend changes and holding a national referendum for approval of the revisions to the current Constitution.
7. Promoting participation of women in managing regional affairs by ensuring equal access to elected office.
8. Protecting minority rights by enshrining the Amazigh cultural identity in the Constitution.
9. Enshrining in the Constitution institutions to promote good governance, human rights, and protection of freedoms. 10. Reinforcing mechanisms to ensure oversight and accountability in the exercise of power in public office.
For the full text of His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s speech, go to:
“The King’s speech was a remarkable demonstration of Morocco’s commitment to modernization and reform, and His Majesty Mohammed VI’s leadership in addressing his people’s desire for change,” said Edward M. Gabriel, former US Ambassador to Morocco and an advisor to the Moroccan Government. “Morocco’s commitment to progress, and its continuing strong record of peaceful reform, is indeed exceptional, and one of the things that makes it such a valuable US ally.”
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. For more, please visit www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org
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