The king said, “Our shared goal is to launch a new democratic, constitutional era which strengthens the rule of law and the institution-based state, contributes to dignified life, fosters the values of citizenship, strengthens the nation’s unity and safeguards our sovereignty.”
Since the protests were started by the youth of Morocco, the king invited the leaders of the Feb. 20th Movement ― the youth-led group named after the day of protests ― to join the process and propose changes to the country’s constitution.
“Most political parties, trade unions, cultural and media associations as well as the newly established Feb. 20th Youth Association welcomed very positively the constitutional reforms announced by His Majesty,” said Chraibi.
Even the international community, particularly the United Nations secretary general, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, Japan, and International Organizations such as NATO and the European Union “have praised the constitutional reforms that His Majesty announced and his constant will to listen to his people and their aspirations.”
Adlai E. Stevenson, former U.S. vice president from 1893―1897, once said about the press, “The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty.”
This undeniable right to flourish in a free and democratic country must have resonated with the Moroccan government because last week it promised reforms of the current press code which will be based on democratic benchmarks.
To further reduce social tensions, the king is examining the possibility of granting new benefits to public sector workers worth $5.4 billion.
“These reforms will enable Morocco to establish a framework whereby it could achieve major objectives of genuine democracy, advanced freedom of expression, human dignity, economic prosperity and social justice,” said Chraibi.
Yet the first question is how to get from A (the king’s words) to B (an improved judiciary)?
This is where judicial independence plays a crucial structural and behavioral role.
“We plan on elevating the judiciary to the status of an independent power,” he said.
Morocco has had a monarchy since before gaining independence from France in 1956 but the royal family today costs Moroccan taxpayers $140 million a year ― more than twice the cost of the British monarchy.
But the protesters are not demanding to overthrow the king, who is relatively respected and liked, who took over the reins of the monarchy after the death of his father in 1999.
What protesters want instead is, in a nutshell, for him to have less power.
One constitutional change demanded by the protesters is the elimination of an article that states that the king is the nation’s highest religious leader.
“These substantial reforms, which are part of the ongoing modernization of the country, reflects the king’s strong desire to lead a peaceful, yet resolute, evolution allowing Morocco to harmoniously continue its adjustment to the important changes and developments taking place in the international arena,” said Chraibi.
By Yoav Cerralbo (firstname.lastname@example.org