An interview with Morocco’s Economic, Social and Environmental Council President, Nizar Baraka on reform and development:
While Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt are more frequently referenced in discussions about the 2011 Arab uprisings and their aftermath, Baraka stressed that the political and social changes in Morocco should not be overlooked. He emphasized the importance of the July 2011 constitution, which puts Morocco’s citizens at the “heart of all we do.” The new constitution reinforces regional representative councils, gives more power to the parliament, and strengthens the voice of civil society.
Another crucial component of the 2011 reforms— which was the focus of Baraka’s talk at Brookings—is the Moroccan government’s ongoing process of “advanced regionalization,” which began in earnest in 2015 with Morocco’s first direct local and municipal elections. The new constitution made way for a “real revolution in institutions” by devolving power from the national government to regional and municipal authorities. Baraka emphasized that civil society representatives from the private sector, trade unions, NGOs, and other groups inform this process. He said that the regionalization process seeks to address three challenges:
- Bringing decision-making closer to the citizens: Regionalization will promote local participation in governance, Baraka said. When democratic reforms were undertaken in the 1990s, he explained, the state lacked credibility. People did not know who was making decisions. Now he believes that the people themselves are central to the process…[FULL STORY]