Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

US media reacts to ebola scare

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

I will support Hillary Clinton, will.i.am tells France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Read more

ENCORE!

Corrie Nielsen: Up and Coming Talent at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FACE-OFF

French Senate election: A new blow for Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Julie Gayet, Denzel Washington, and cartoon madness

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Turkey's strategy towards the Islamic State group

Read more

Africa

Parties urge Moroccans to vote 'yes' on curbing king's powers

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-06-21

Morocco’s main political parties urged Moroccans to vote "yes" as campaigning began Tuesday ahead of a July 1 referendum on limiting King Mohammed VI’s powers. The proposals were introduced last week in a bid to appease anti-regime protesters.

AFP - Campaigning for a referendum on constitutional curbs to King Mohammed VI's powers opened in Morocco on Tuesday with the main parties urging a "yes" vote in the wake of uprisings elsewhere in north Africa.

As the government announced the start of the campaign and urged citizens to collect their new voters' cards, a senior minister predicted the envisioned changes would help the country back on the road to stability.
             
"This constitution is going to bring a lot of positive things to Morocco," Industry Minister Ahmed Reda Chami told AFP.
             
In a speech to parliament last Friday, King Mohammed VI proposed to devolve some of his wide-ranging political powers to the prime minister and parliament, among other changes.
             
The reforms are aimed at transforming the kingdom's political system into a constitutional monarchy, a key demand of the youth-based February 20 Movement named after the date of Morocco's first nationwide pro-reform protests.
             
"This new constitution is going to give more power to the prime minister. The king has given some of his powers to the prime minister, to the parliament. I believe that this is important. I think this is going to help us build a stronger democracy in the future," Chami said.
             
"We need to go back to normal as soon as possible, then we'll pick up those investments."
             
Campaigning for the referendum will end on June 30, and the communications minister said Tuesday that all political formations would be able to speak freely to state-owned media.
             
"I confirm that all those participating in the referendum, including those who are hostile (towards it), will be able to express themselves freely," said the minister, Khalid Naciri.
             
The country's three biggest political parties -- the Justice and Development Party, an Islamist formation; the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP); and the conservative Istiqlal party -- have urged their supporters to vote "yes" to the proposed changes.
             
Smaller opposition parties called for a boycott, while the February 20 Movement, which was inspired by other popular uprisings that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, initially rejected the draft but has since said it would announce its position later.
             
Chami said the new constitution would keep Morocco "first in class".
             
"I was worried, because we were first in class before the Arab revolutions -- I was worried that because Tunisia and Egypt would have more advanced constitutions -- we would be left behind.
             
"I believe that the king has reacted swiftly. Now, with this constitution we will still be first or among the first in the class, which will give more stability to Morocco."
              
He added that the pending changes would remove the impetus for protest, which most recently saw the February 20 Movement draw some 10,000 to a rally in Casablanca on Sunday.
             
"You can't keep on going and protesting against something that's really positive," Chami said.
             
The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly, meanwhile, granted Morocco "Partner for Democracy" status in Strasbourg on Tuesday -- a title meant to boost cooperation with parliaments of non-member states in neighbouring regions.
             
Abdelouahed Radi, the head of Morocco's parliament and secretary-general of the USFP, thanked the council for this "encouragement and confidence."

 

Date created : 2011-06-21

  • MOROCCO

    Monarchy loyalists attack democracy activists in Rabat

    Read more

  • MOROCCO

    Youth movement continues protests despite king's proposed reforms

    Read more

  • MOROCCO

    King to curb his own power in far-reaching reforms

    Read more

COMMENT(S)