King Mohammed VI announces major Moroccan constitutional reform
Our head guides in Morocco, Jalil and Saida, just called in with some really exciting cultural news. Yesterday, their king, Mohammed VI, went on TV to announce plans to reform Morocco’s constitution. It’s long been one of the friendliest and most peaceful countries around. I just wish you could have heard how proud and excited they are about these developments. (It’s one of the perks of our job – to have these windows inside life in other countries.)
The king, whose ancestry goes back to the 1500’s, is creating a constitutional monarchy like those in Britain and Spain. He’ll give up his final say in Moroccan politics in favor of a popularly-elected Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will become the head of state and the king will become a ceremonial figurehead, similar in power to Queen Elizabeth II in Britain.
“I am…deeply committed to giving strong momentum to the substantial reforms under way, of which a democratic constitution is both the basis and the essence,” the king said.
With the Moroccan constitution announcement, the king appointed a committee to work in concert with political parties, trade unions, and civil society groups to prepare proposals by this June in advance of next June’s scheduled elections.
It’s hard to imagine what a moment this is for the people there. In one fell swoop, the reform will make the judiciary independent, provide for a freely elected parliament with new powers, and a prime minister from the majority party. The constitution will also recognize the country’s multi-ethnic identity (which is one of the aspects we love most about the culture of Morocco).
Saeed Binjebli, an organizer of the youth-led movement for change in Morocco politics, said “This was a very bold speech. The king responded favorably to all our demands on the constitutional front.”
Jalil and Saida, our popular head guides in Morocco, are looking at this announcement from really interesting viewpoints. Both are married and parents. Jalil is a father of two boys and a girl, and Saida is a mother of two girls. Both have been guides for over 15 years, and Saida was also a journalist.
The changes will just have a huge impact on their families and their futures. I can already hear them talking up the changes with our guests who are headed to Morocco.
They took the opportunity to provide me some additional historical background and context on this monumental announcement, “Morocco obtained its independence from France in 1956, and men and women have participated actively in elections since then. All Moroccans age 18 and over are eligible to vote, and our participation in political parties is quite active. We have two main political parties: the USF and the Independents, who each represent about 25% of the voters, with the balance of Moroccans’ political views represented by a number of smaller third parties. Historically, we’ve elected two-thirds of the members of parliament with the king appointing the other third and the Prime Minister. Now, we citizens will elect 100% of parliament and also the Prime Minister.”
Jalil summed the country’s feelings on the Morocco constitution reform by saying, “We’re thrilled to be living through this wonderful moment of change for our country and to share it with our guests.”
Classic Journeys operates regularly-scheduled departures dates of our cultural walking adventures in Morocco in January, March, May, September, November and December, as well as our family vacations in Morocco timed to coincide with school breaks in March, April, June, November and December.
Our adventures in Morocco immerse guests into the history and culture of the country through a combination of easy going walks in spectacular settings, along with meeting up with interesting local people to discuss all aspects of life including Morocco politics, and visiting historic sites in creative ways. In addition to the regularly scheduled 9 day and 8 night Morocco tours, Classic Journeys can adapt the itinerary as a private custom tour to fit the schedule and special interests of any travelers or group.