Morocco World News
Morocco World News
by Ahmad Azizi
New York, June 16, 2011
Morocco is getting a new constitution–and it is not just a facelift. The new amendments, which King Mohammed VI is expected to announce in his speech to the nation tomorrow, do not alter the fundamental aspects of the Kingdom, i.e. monarchy, Arabic as an official language and Islam as an official religion, but they do include fundamental improvements to the political and governance system.
According to the draft new constitution, a copy of which has been obtained by Morocco World News, the political system of the Moroccan Kingdom will become “parliamentary” instead of “constitutional”, while keeping the “democratic” and “social” attributes and emphasizing the separation of powers.
In terms of rights, the constitution would guarantee freedom from illegal searches or apprehension as well the right to trial and a lawyer for those apprehended by the authorities. It would also guarantee privacy for telecommunication. Furthermore, it would add specific language about the equality of all citizens regardless of sex, origin, language, religion, or creed.
But perhaps the most significant improvements to the constitution have to do with the King himself, who would now be guaranteed “respect” instead of “sacredness”. The changes are well-represented by the new Article VII which changes the motto of the country to “Allah, the Homeland, Equality” from “Allah, the Homeland, the King”, which could not withstand the wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world.
The practical side of this amendment is what is considered by analysts the core of the new constitution, that is the manner in which the Head of Government would be chosen. The Premier would be chosen according to parliamentary majority and not appointed by the King. The appointment of Governors, Ambassadors, and senior government officials would be made by the Head of Government. So would be the authority to sign international and bilateral agreements.
These significant changes could be considered necessary measures to implement the text’s new Article II, which would vest sovereignty with the people instead of the current word, “Ummah”.
According to analysts, one feature of the new constitution is that it is action-oriented. A case in point is that it eliminates a lot of the vague attributes of the King in the old version and tackles specific rights and responsibilities.
In what is believed to be one of the boldest steps of the reforms currently being taken by the leadership of Morocco, the draft new constitution would recognize, for the first time, Amazigh as a language of Morocco following the official Arabic language, thus stopping short of full recognition of the former as an official language.
Moroccans in New York interviewed by Morocco World News have welcomed the new constitution, and hoped that it would pave the way for a new Morocco, as the young people of Morocco have been demanding in ever-louder voices. What remains to be seen, according to them, is whether and how this new constitution will be implemented in letter and in spirit.
Editing by Adnane Bennis.