BY Adanna Uwazurike, 12:00am July 13, 2011,

Despite Referendum, Many Fear The King Of Morocco Still Holds Most Of The Power

Despite Referendum, Many Fear The King Of Morocco Still Holds Most Of The PowerIn response to the uprisings that have occurred throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Morocco did something unique and unprecedented to compromise with their citizens towards a more democratic society.

In July, they held a referendum, which had an unusual high turn out, showing how important this vote was to the people. As a result, 98% of Moroccans who voted approved changes in the amount of power the King Mohammed VI held. In the past, the king had the power to choose the prime minister, and though through the referendum he still has this power, he now has to choose a prime minister from the party with the parliamentary majority. Also, the prime minister now has the ability to appoint government ministers, though his choices still have to be approved by the king.

      Some thought these concessions did not go far enough; especially those involved in the February 20th Movement for Change, which has coordinated the country’s demonstrations, and those who have vowed to keep up weekly protests. However, the fact that voter turnout was high and the referendum was passed overwhelmingly shows that the people are ready for change, and willing to take the necessary baby steps. Supporters of the constitution believe that moving slowly is the surest way to achieve sustainable change. Some analysts say that Morocco’s slow pace to transformation could inspire more peaceful revolutions throughout the region.

      However, the root of the problem still remains as to whether these changes are real or will it just be what some are calling a “cosmetic change.”  On the surface it may seem that Morocco has taken a great step towards becoming more democratic while others believe that it is all for show. Karim Boukhari, editor and publisher of the francophone weekly Tel Quel said, “The king gives the impression of giving the keys to the prime minister, while keeping a copy in his pocket.” And Boukhari is not alone in his sentiments. Located on the western edge of Northern Africa, Morocco has a restless young and unemployed population, many of whom participate in the protests.

      In the end, so far, opinion among the people seems to be split. While some are cheering the steps taken by the king, even if they are small, others believe it has not gone nearly far enough and should be more rapid. 


Photo credit: Bikyamasr

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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