Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said that the military service bill might come into force at the end of 2019.
He explained that the bill will be debated in a Parliament session this week or next.
“It will be discussed, as any other law in the first place; the changes will be presented and approved before forwarding it to the second chamber etc…. So it is assumed that this law should enter into force at the end of 2019,” El Khalfi said.
The government announced its decision to propose bringing back 12-month compulsory military service in August.
Bill 44.18 on mandatory service concerns young people aged 19 to 25, both men and women. The decision surprised Morocco’s youth. However, some experts welcome the idea as they see it as a move to help youth contribute to the development of the country.
Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, a political analyst, told Morocco World News, “The return of compulsory military service for our young people in Morocco is wise justice for the future of the country.”
He added, “This return to the collective consciousness of the nation is paramount, provided that the spirit of citizenship prevails over inequality and social disparity.”
However, many activists contested the move by creating a Facebook group called “Moroccan Rally against Compulsory Military Service.”
The group explained that their rejection of the bill “came because of the government’s total lack of clarity on the bill’s real objectives.” They added that conscription cannot be proposed and implemented in such a short period.
Morocco first introduced 18-month military service on June 9, 1966, in accordance with Royal Decree 137-66. Morocco reduced the length of service to 12 months in 1999. But in 2006, King Mohammed VI abolished mandatory military service.
On September 4, Morocco’s Istiqlal (Independence) party called on the government to practice pedagogical efforts “to correct negative stereotypes” which made the military service appear like a “mechanism for discipline and punishment or for the suppression of energies and spirit of initiative and creativity” among youth.
The party also wanted the government to hear from people and communicate with them to hear their suggestions.