Moroccan king urges prompt elections

2011-07-30 21:54

Rabat - Morocco's King Mohammed called on Saturday for prompt parliamentary polls to expedite a new constitution that reduces his powers, after months of protests inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.

At the helm of the Arab world's longest-serving dynasty, King Mohammed acted swiftly to contain any spill over from the Arab Spring, promising constitutional changes on March 9, two weeks after protests spread to Morocco.

A new constitution was endorsed in a referendum on July 1 but has failed to end peaceful protests by the youth-led February 20 movement, which is pushing for a constitutional monarchy in which the king remains purely as a figurehead.

Its implementation hinges on the election of a new parliament and the appointment of a government to draft laws enshrining the new constitution.

The interior ministry has been holding meetings with dozens of political parties this month to push for parliamentary polls to take place in October this year rather than September 2012.

In a television address to mark the 12th anniversary of his reign, the 47-year old monarch said constitutional changes should be implemented to a "rigorous schedule".

"Any delay may jeopardise this dynamic of trust and squander opportunities offered by the new reform in development and providing conditions to ensure decent living standards," King Mohammed said in his first address since the July 1 referendum.

"It's important to start with the election of a new parliament so that we can proceed and based on the poll results... with the appointment of a head of the government."

King still in charge

The next polls, he said, should be "honest and transparent".

Despite winning almost 100%  support from voters, the constitutional changes have failed to end peaceful protests by critics who say that, even after the changes, the king will retain most of his powers.

The king chairs cabinet meetings, and controls the judiciary, religious affairs and the army. He can dissolve parliament if it proposes laws that do not please him.

Critics also say that more than half of Moroccans eligible to vote did not take part in the referendum, either out of lack of interest or because they did not register to vote.

Inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, the February 20 movement, a loose and leaderless alliance of Islamist, left-wing and secular independent activists, plans new protests on Sunday, one day after the anniversary of the king's enthronement.

In an apparent reference to the protests, King Mohammed said commitment to the new charter should "outweigh demobilising, demoralising and nihilistic temptations".

  • Anton - 2011-07-30 22:24

    Is it not strange, that all these dictators act the same. As soon as they feel the heat, and know that the people will no longer accept the status quo, they all go; " Ohhh sh.t, how could I have possibly forgotten for 35 years, that silly little thing these people want, I think they call it elections!!!!!!!!!! I hope they appreciate I have been very busy,........ .....killing my oponents and counting the money I stole from them!!!!

      Datbrotherfromthestates - 2011-07-30 22:31

      Anton stop it with your lies dude! these revolts have NOTHING to do with voting or democracy! incase you havent heard, AL-QAEDA EXTREMIST have killed the military leader in Libya,and here is the latest from egypt. Egyptian liberals forced out of protest by Islamic demonstrators Egyptian liberals were forced out of the mass protest for democratic elections in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday by a flood of Islamic demonstrators mobilised by the Muslim brotherhood. One of the largest crowds to fill the square since the popular uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February was dominated by demands for Islamic sharia law. Instead of "Peaceful, peaceful," which demonstrators have chanted during confrontations with security forces, they repeated "Islamic, Islamic." A chant "The people want to topple the regime" was replaced by "The people want to implement Sharia," the strict form of Islamic law. london telegraph...... Anton, you are the filth,liar and bigot that I know you to be! you cannot even attempt to refute the ACTIONS that are taking place in egypt! THESE ARE ALL AL-QAEDA INSPIRED REVOLTS! why dont you just do africa a favor and move back to a white country?

      Anton - 2011-07-31 05:16

      Datbrotherfromthemostracistcountryintheworldwholovesafricansbutcannotunderstandtheydonotlovehim, Just a friendly tip, Whenever you plan to visit Africa, pack very lightly, as your trip will not be a long one. In most African countries you would not get further than the airport. AFRICA DOES NOT TAKE KINDLY TO RADICALISM, RACISM AND HATRED NEVER in history has a dictator been elected !!!!! As a matter of fact, in no election held anywhere in Africa, did any radical party get a foothold. So , please keep all this ,important stuff,you want to share with us, right there where you are. There are millions there, who would love to share this with you.

      slg - 2011-07-31 07:48

      Datbrother, the right to vote is very important to South Africans. We went through Apartheid, when the majority of our citizens were denied that right, like Libyans today being denied that right. I understand you do not believe it is important or desirable. You believe in the Libyan system of governance, which denies Libyans that right and puts power in the hands of a dictator. I can't see your view holding much weight among South Africans. We went through a lot to secure the right for all South Africans to vote. It's precious to us. And it is valuable. It's very important, the right to elect ones leaders and administrators.

      letsee - 2011-08-01 11:01

      Anton, Don't write stuff before reading history and comparing what happened and is happening in different countries else you will look ignorant again.

  • slg - 2011-07-31 07:24

    Smart man. If only Bashar Asad and Gadhafi were as smart, tens of thousands of lives would have been spared and untold pain.

  • slg - 2011-08-01 04:57

    He's going to have to give up more power and create effective checks and balances if he wants to avoid Gashafi's fate, and the fate looming for Asad.

  • letsee - 2011-08-01 10:58

    King Mohammed is an inspiration. He will be loved by his people for doing the right things.

  • letsee - 2011-08-01 11:02

    So much ignorance in this Forum !!!!! No wonder what is written here will never make a change...

      Anton - 2011-08-01 14:24

      letsee, Well it is always great to have someone like you, who will show us the way. The amount of Africa experts on these sites is amazing.. But unfortunately, history has little or no significance in the future of any country. There are just too many other factors , that will determine the direction. The king is much loved........... It is totaly incredible how dictators and their supporters believe that they are sooo loved !!! A six year old would than ask ; "If that is the case, why than do they forget to hold elections for DECADES, or in the case of Marocco, are so scared to have FREE AND FAIR elections. They will do anything to show they are reasonable,. as long as they can hold onto total power. And No, although some might think they are that powerful, NO ONE on these sites will make a change. Here one does not make politics, but just observe it, and some are willing to share their thoughts with total strangers. That's all !!!

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