Moroccan people ‘will have final say’ in July 1 national referendum —HM King Mohammed VI
Washington, DC (June 21)—The historic, far-reaching Constitutional reforms announced June 17 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI to strengthen Morocco‟s democratic institutions and establish it as a constitutional monarchy are winning broad praise from world leaders, the US Congress, policy experts, and commentators. The amendments, which will be voted on by the Moroccan people in a national referendum on July 1, come as prospects for the „Arab Spring‟ remain uncertain and turmoil continues across the region.
Recognition for Morocco’s reforms has come from across the international community. The United States said it is “encouraged by the proposals put forward by the king to transform Morocco’s democratic development through constitutional, judicial and political reforms.” The European Union called the reforms “a major step” signaling “a clear commitment to democracy and respect for human rights.” It added that new measures would continue “the Kingdom’s already-launched reform process” and advance “separation of powers,” “independence of the judiciary,” “regionalization,” and “equal rights for men and women.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the advances were “exemplary,” and put Morocco on “a path of profound, peaceful and modern transformation.” Britain welcomed Morocco‟s “commitment to reform” and Spain also congratulated the Moroccan leader. The 47-member Council of Europe went so far as to make Morocco its first “partner for democracy” among nations in the region.
US Congress Members also praised the reforms. “While much of the Arab world is struggling under tyrannical regimes,” said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), “Morocco provides an example of how to pursue positive reform.” He added, “The people of Morocco will participate in a historic vote on a series of broad and significant constitutional and government reforms July 1.”
“I am encouraged by King Mohammed VI‟s speech,” said Rep. Jim Moran (VA), “which underscores his commitment to constitutional, judicial, and political reforms for Morocco. Authentic reforms will only strengthen the longstanding bond of friendship between our countries.”
Rep. Steve Rothman (NJ) said “King Mohammed VI of Morocco spoke to his citizens and outlined historic reforms to establish a constitutional monarchy and a democratic parliamentary system of government. As Morocco continues to take greater steps towards democracy, the future of Morocco will increasingly be in the hands of its people—where it belongs. I applaud King Mohammed VI for this bold move.”
“King Mohammed VI promised reform and is following through,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (TN). “These latest reforms build on Morocco‟s efforts over the past two decades to empower people politically, socially, and economically.”
Policy experts viewed the reforms as a positive development in the region. “What’s so important about what the Moroccan King has done is that he is forging a different model of change in the Arab world,” said Kenneth M. Pollack, Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution. If Morocco continues the “bold vision” of its “quiet revolution,” Pollack said, “it will be the model of what meaningful, gradual, peaceful change in the Arab world could and should look like” and “transform not just Morocco, but the entire region.”
Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director, Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, The Atlantic Council said that while the outcome of uprisings in the Arab region remains uncertain, the path Morocco is choosing “sets an example in terms of reforms that pay heed to history, religion and culture,” and would resonate across the MENA region.
For the Full Text of His Majesty King Mohammed VI’s June 17th speech, go to: http://www.map.ma/eng/sections/main1/hm_the_king_addresse/view
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