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7.03.2011

Morocco Constitution Approved

Morocco’s new Constitution was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a referndum on Friday, followed by celebrations. As such, the Arab Spring (now Summer?) has its first (mostly) bloodless transition, from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Among other things, the new document recognizes Tamazight (the original language of pre-Arab North Africa) as an official language, reflecting an inclusive approach to the regions of the north. The constitution also adds a number of new rights.

The King’s appointment powers are now constrained, so that he must appoint as prime minister a member of the largest party in parliament. Still, the King retains many formal powers that can be used to influence subsequent developments including his role as commander in chief, head of the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Security Council. These features, as well as the lack of a consultative process of constitution-making, led many associated with the pro-democracy February 20th movement to reject the charter.

Clearly gradualism amd acquiesence is the strategy of the Moroccan monarchy, and initial signs are that the approach may work. The devil, of course, is in the details and the subsequent implementation. The text of the new document (in French) can be found here.

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