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     Democratic Reforms
Morocco’s Democratic Reforms
 

Since July 30th, 1999, date of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI enthronement, the Kingdom of Morocco has witnessed an unprecedented process of reforms in the political, social and economic arenas.

Ranging from the reform of the Family Code, with its revolutionary and emancipative dimensions as far as the status of women is concerned, to the launching of the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD), and the reform of the Justice system, the scope of these reforms reached in 2011 its culminating point through the reform of the Moroccan Constitution.

In this respect, the King’s speeches respectively on March 9th, and June 17th, 2011, fit into the framework of the democratic process, in which Morocco had been involved for over a decade. March 9th will, in fact, remain as a historical date, being the time of the His Majesty the King’s announcement of a comprehensive reform of the Constitution and the setting up of an ad-hoc committee for the matter.

The suggestions submitted by the political parties, labor Unions and civil society, to the Advisory Commission for the Review of the Constitution, highlight the fundamentality of the Moroccan people’s participation in the drafting of the new Constitution as well as the State’s respect for the citizens’ aspirations in the democratic process.

After receiving the outcome of the work, which the aforesaid Commission had done, His Majesty the King made his historic speech on June 17th, 2011, calling for a referendum on the adoption of the new constitution to be held. On July 1st, 2011, the new Constitution was approved by 98.5% of votes, with a turnout of 73.46%.

Due to the nature of its drafting process as well as the far-reaching amendments it came with, the new constitution, therefore, represents a historic turning point in the establishment of the State of law in Morocco.

In fact, the new Constitution not only does it guarantee the enshrinement of human rights as universally recognized, but it ensures the mechanisms and institutions for their protection and implementation.

This Constitution is an original Moroccan model, based on two complementary pillars: while the first one reflects the commitment to the immutable constants of the Moroccan nation, the second emphasizes the will to consolidate attributes and mechanisms induced by the parliamentary feature of Morocco's political system. Accordingly, the Constitution establishes a citizen monarchy within the framework of a new contract between the State and the people.

As far as the national identity is concerned, the Constitution guarantees the recognition of Amazigh as official language of the Kingdom, alongside with Arabic. The new Constitution advocates also the promotion of all Moroccan linguistic and cultural expressions, among which is the Hassani, to make, therefore, clear Morocco’s attachment to its Saharan roots.

With regard to the political field, the Constitution is based on the fundamental principles of the separation, cooperation and equilibrium between powers. The constitutional status of the Prime Minister has been promoted to that of Head of Government, and who is to be appointed from the political party winning the majority of votes in the parliamentary elections. It is noteworthy, in this respect, that the Constitution gives the Head of Government the right to dissolve the House of Representatives. Besides this, the Constitution confirms the principle of the consultation of the Head of Government by His Majesty the King, before declaring the state of emergency and the dissolution of the Parliament.

One of the most fundamental issues brought by the new Constitution is the strengthening of parliamentary powers in terms of legislation and supervision. In fact, the Constitution sets the ground to give a new momentum to the Parliament, namely through emphasizing the restructuring of the House of councilors, the preeminence of the House of Representatives, the expansion of the scope of law, the constitutionalization of the opposition’s rights, the strengthening of the mechanisms of the control of the Government, as well as the moralization of the parliamentary work.

Furthermore, the Constitution stipulates the setting up of an independent judiciary power vis-à-vis the executive and the legislative powers; through the creation of the Supreme Judicial Council, a constitutional body chaired by the King. On the other hand, to confirm the supremacy of the Constitution and the law, the Constitutional Council has been transformed into a Constitutional Court, and its composition has been expanded.

The Constitution will proceed also, according to His majesty the King's speech on June 17, to the establishment of a "United Morocco of Regions", based "on an extended decentralization meant for democracy and dedicated to sustainable and integrated human development, within the scope of the State’s and the Nation’s Unity, the territorial integrity and the respect of the principles of equilibrium, and national and regional solidarity ".

In order to ensure good governance and an effective implementation of the founding principles of the Constitution, a number of bodies have been constitutionalized, including notably the Supreme Council of Magistracy, the National Forum of probity and fight against corruption, the Supreme Council of Security and the Advisory Council for Youth and Associative Action.