Rabat - Since he ascended the throne in 1999 following his the death of his father, late King Hassan II, King Mohammed VI led several initiatives that changed the face of Moroccan politics and society. This year, the kingdom celebrates 18 years of his role. An occasion to look back at the some of the key moments of his rule.
Rabat – Since he ascended the throne in 1999 following his the death of his father, late King Hassan II, King Mohammed VI led several initiatives that changed the face of Moroccan politics and society. This year, the kingdom celebrates 18 years of his role. An occasion to look back at the some of the key moments of his rule.
July 1999: King Mohammed VI ascends to the throne at 35 years old after his father, King Hassan II, dies from a heart attack.
September 1999: The King allows the return to Morocco Abraham Serfaty, an exiled Moroccan Jewish former left-wing opponent of Hassan II. Serfaty was a political prisoner in Morocco for 17 years, before he was stripped of his Moroccan nationality and exiled to France.
November 1999: The newly-crowned King sacks Driss Basri, his father’s right-hand man and long-serving minister of interior (1979-1999).
May 2000: House arrest is lifted on Abdessalam Yassine, leader of Islamist opposition group Al Adl wal Ihsan (Justice and Charity).
October 2001: The King delivers a speech in Ajdir in the Rif region, recognizing Amazigh culture as a key component of Moroccan identity and announcing the creation of the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture (IRCAM).
March 2002: The monarch marries Salma Bennani, a young engineer from Rabat. Former US president Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea attend the wedding.
May 2003: The King’s son Prince Moulay Hassan is born in Rabat.
May 2003: Five terrorist attacks strike Casablanca, causing the death of 45 people (33 civilians and 12 suicide bombers). A massive wave of arrests ensue; 1,300 people are arrested. Human rights groups denounce arbitrary arrests and use of torture.
October 2003: The King allows a reform to family law, which protects women’s rights in marriage, allows them to initiate divorce and raises the minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18.
January 2004: The King announces the creation of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER). The commission’s mission is to investigate violations of human rights committed in Morocco since its independence in 1956, and compensate the victims and their families.
December 2004: Hearings of the IER start being aired on state-run TV.
January 2004: The new family code put forward in October 2003 is adopted, and women officially have improved rights.
May 2005: In a speech, the King announces The National Initiative for Human Development, a program to fight poverty and social disparities.
March 2006: From Laayoune in Western Sahara, King Mohammed VI announces Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for the region.
February 2007: King Mohammed VI’s daughter Lalla Khadija is born in Rabat.
April 2007: Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, El Mostapha Sahel, submits the kingdom’s Autonomy Plan for Western Sahara to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
September 2008: King Mohammed VI initiates religious reforms to educate Moroccan imams in moderate Islam to counter the rise of fundamentalism.
November 2009: The King issues a warning to Western Sahara independence campaigners, stating that they threaten the country’s “territorial integrity”.
January 2010: Mohammed VI establishes The Advisory Commission on Regionalization to study regional governments, including the Western Sahara, and modernize state institutions.
February 2011: The February 20th movement gives rise to marches demanding a “democratic constitution” and the release of “political prisoners”. The movement also calls for the King to relinquish some of his power and dismiss the government. Protesters took to the streets in more than 50 cities inspire by the region’s Arab Spring demonstrations.
March 2011: In response to February 20 protests, King Mohammed VI announces an overhaul of the constitution and promises to draft changes by June.
April 2011: Several Politicians and Salafist leaders accused of terrorism, including and Mustapha El Mouatassim and Mohamed El Fizazi, are released from prison.
July 2011: A new Moroccan constitution is adopted following a referendum. The new constitution recognizes Amazigh as an official language.
November 2011: The Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) wins parliamentary elections. The party’s leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, is appointed as head of government.
October 2016: PJD wins Moroccan elections for the second time in a row. Benkirane is again appointed as head of government. Massive protests break out in the Rif region following the death of local fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri.
January 2017: King Mohammed VI delivers an important speech at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa. Morocco rejoins the organization after 33 years of absence.
March 2017: Benkirane is dismissed as head of government. PJD leading member Saad Eddine El Othmani is appointed in his place.
April 2017: El Othmani’s government is appointed by the King in Casablanca.
July 2017: King Mohammed VI celebrates 18 years of rule in Morocco.