Friday, June 17, 2011

Morocco's king 'to unveil constitutional reforms'

Morocco's King Mohammed VIKing Mohammed VI has promised greater democracy for the people of Morocco

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Morocco's King Mohammed VI is expected to announce constitutional amendments in a landmark televised speech.
The reforms will reduce his political and religious powers, according to AFP and Reuters news agencies which have seen drafts of the speech.
In March the king promised "comprehensive constitutional reform" in the north African country.
Thousands of Moroccan pro-democracy protesters staged protests in February similar to those in Tunisia and Egypt.
Some activists have urged caution, saying that Morocco's 400-year-old monarchy has a long history of enacting superficial reforms.
The speech is due to be aired at 2100 local time (2000 GMT).
The proposals - drawn up by a reform panel appointed by King Mohammed - will see the prime minister become "president of the government", AFP says.
The prime minister will be able to appoint government officials, taking over a role previously held only by the king, and be able to debate state policy at weekly government council meetings in the absence of the king, the draft says.
'Key power-broker'
Under the existing constitution, only the cabinet chaired by the king can decide state policy.
However, the monarch will remain a key power-broker in the security, military and religious fields, Reuters adds.
The proposals will be put to a referendum in July.
In March, King Mohammed promised to promote greater democracy by strengthening the roles of the prime minister, parliament and the judiciary.
He said more powers would be given to Morocco's regions to "help consolidate our model of democracy and development".
Morocco has been facing severe economic problems with high unemployment and rising levels of poverty.

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