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Reform in Morocco

· A constitutional monarchy and democracy ·

From the traditional “Hiba” – an Arabic word which means terror and sacred respect for an absolute sovereign who commands everyone – to a modern monarchy where the king divides his power with parliament, the government and judicial organizations. This is the constitutional reform, proposed by King Mohammed VI (18th sovereign of the Alawita dynasty who took the throne July 30, 1999, succeeding his father, Hassan II), approved on July 1st in a popular referendum with a 98% yes vote. More than 72% of the 13 million Moroccans voted, despite torrid heart and the invitation to boycott from sections of the left, the islamists and young members of the February 20th movement. By way of comparison, in 2007, only 37% of the electorate voted in legislative elections.

Often Morocco (the third most populated country of Africa after Nigeria and Sudan) is considered the same as the vast region of the Maghreb, (even though Morocco is larger) whose name derives from the Arabic, Al Mamlaka Al Maghribya (the reign of the west) but the term Morocco comes from the latinization of the name Marrakech, which itself was derived from the Berber word Mur-Akhus (land of God). From the second half of the 17th century, the Alawiti dynasty ascended to the throne and continue to reign today. In a lightening move and anticipating the winds of change of the so-called Arab Spring which has blown from Tunisia to Egypt, Libya to Yemen, King Mohammed VI – who has taken the road to modernization with a secret dream: to one day become a member of the European Union – presented in a speech to the nation, a serious reform which was entrusted to a commission presided over by constitutional scholar, Abelatif Mennouni. Mohammed VI said he wanted to reinforce democracy. A change for Morocco, the most western country of North Africa, between the Ocean and the Mediterranean, with a history blended with Europe, and a culture that speaks Berber, Spanish, French and Arabic.

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