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Africa

Reforms not enough, says youth-based pro-reform movement

media Morocco's King Mohammed VI, the Arab world's longest-serving monarch Reuters/Jamil Bittar

Morocco’s February 20 Movement has called for nationwide protests on Sunday against the reforms put forward by King Mohammed VI. The youth-based movement claims the plan does not respond to their demands for a true separation of powers.

 

In televised address on Friday, the king pledged to build a constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliament. Many of the king’s powers will be devolved to a prime minister and the parliament.

The king stated the position of prime minister should come “from the ranks of the political party which comes out top in parliamentary elections”.

Under the proposals drawn up by a reform panel appointed by the king, the prime minister will be able to appoint government officials, including in the public administration and state enterprises. They will also be able to debate general state policy with a government council at weekly meetings to be held in the absence of the king.

King Mohammed VI also pledged an independent judiciary and said the parliament would be given the right to declare a general amnesty which is currently under the monarch’s domain.

The proposals also provide for the indigenous Berber to be considered an official language alongside Arabic.

The 47-year-old monarch, who took over the Arab world’s longest-serving dynasty in 1999, will retain the title of Commander of the Faithful, which makes him the country’s only religious authority.  And he will remain the head of the military forces and nominate ambassadors and diplomats.

The proposals come in the wake of nationwide pro-reform demonstrations that started in February inspired by similar protests throughout the Arab world. They will be put to a referendum on 1 July.
 

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