By Mawassi Lahcen
By Mawassi Lahcen
CASABLANCA, April 24, 2012 (Magharebia)
The Moroccan Parliament is debating a new bill that would give the prime minister some of the power now held by King Mohammed VI.
The proposed law is considered among the most important political reforms brought by the new constitution in Morocco, since the power of appointments was limited to the king under the previous constitution.
In the new constitution, the king and the prime minister share powers, with the head of government chosen from the party who won the elections.
The aim of the draft law before Parliament is to separate the powers of the king and the powers of the prime minister in the appointment of senior government officials in public institutions and enterprises, as well as to develop objective criteria for nomination and appointment in these positions.
The bill also specified a preliminary list of 20 public institutions and 17 public enterprises described as strategic, for which it proposed making the appointment of senior officials the jurisdiction of the king, given their importance.
The bill likewise includes a second list of 101 public institutions and 35 public enterprises, in addition to 17 higher posts in the various public administrations, where officials would be assigned directly by the prime minister without intervention of the king.
Many observers consider the proposed law a revolution in the field of governance in Morocco.
“There is a significant widening of the powers of the prime minister in the appointment of senior staff, after this area was previously the preserve of the king,” Abd El Ali Hami El Din, a political scientist and leader in the Justice and Development Party (PJD), told Magharebia.
He said that “the new constitution did not only transfer powers of appointment from the king to the prime minister in some positions, but rather gave a role to the elected prime minister even for positions for which appointment remained the prerogative of the king.”
“All the officials in these positions appointed by the king will work under the supervision of the prime minister, and under the principle of linkage between responsibility and accountability as enshrined in the Constitution,” he added.
Hami El Din criticized the lack of clarity in the bill with respect to its distinction between public institutions and enterprises it described as strategic, for which the power of appointment was left the prerogative of the king, and the remaining public institutions and enterprises, for which the power of appointment went to the prime minister.
MP Fawzia El-Beid told Magharebia, “The law speaks of standards of transparency and efficiency in the selection of senior officials. But these criteria remain vague and unclear. So we are working in opposition for proposals illustrating these criteria accurately. We are also afraid of the dominance of political considerations in the selection of senior staff. And that the prime minister will exclude staff belonging to opposition parties and replace them with staff belonging to his party or the majority parties.”
El-Beid added that the Law of Appointments must explicitly include the principle of equality between the sexes in senior state positions.
“We saw the pressures that were on the prime minister during formation of the current government and trying to satisfy his political allies made him forget to give women their due, and there appeared before us a government including one woman. We do not want this to be repeated with the appointment of senior employees. Therefore, we as parliamentarians are working to put forth suggestions strengthening and protecting this law so it is faithful to the constitutional principle it seeks to apply,” she said.