Since August, the Moroccan government has been discussing a draft law to reintroduce mandatory military service.
Rabat – The House of Representatives in Parliament passed Law 44.18 on mandatory military service at a plenary session on Wednesday.
The delegate minister in charge of the National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, introduced the bill, which aims to “promote the spirit of sacrifice and self denial,” according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).
The official welcomed the support of the members of the House’s Committee on Justice, Legislation, and Human Rights while it was reviewing the draft law.
Loudiyi said that the amendments the commission presented enriched the law and ensured a consensus on the draft.
Loudyi, however, did not give further details about the amendments.
On Monday, the justice and legislation committee examined the draft bill on compulsory military service.
One amendment the committee proposed would make military service obligatory before getting a job in the public service.
The amendments, introduced by the coalition and opposition parliamentary groups within the committee, propose that citizens wanting to get public service jobs must have a document certifying that they completed 12 months of military service, reported Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum.
However, the House of Representatives rejected the amendment. Conscripts have the right to apply for a public service job before completing the 12-month military service.
Bill was drafted ‘constitutionally’
The reintroduction of mandatory military service, according to Loudiyi, comes under the King’s instructions and is in line with the provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution, which states that all citizens should contribute to the defense of the homeland and its territorial integrity.
The official added that the bill was drafted in accordance with constitutional principles, in the context of a correlation between the rights and duties of citizenship.
According to Loudyi, the government will launch an information and communication campaign to explain the bill’s objectives.
Both men and women aged 19 to 25 would be subject to a 12-month military service if Parliament passes the bill. However, people over the age of 25 who were eligible for an exemption can still be called up until the age of 40 if the reason for their exemption is no longer relevant.
The bill grants exemptions for illness and married individuals. Men who are supporting their families financially will also be exempted.
Moroccans expressed concerns that the bill would not be equally applied when the government announced its intention to introduce the military service again in August. Some Moroccans said that all young people, including those of wealthy families, should be subject to the law.
In November, Loudiyi reportedly said that compulsory military service would cost Morocco MAD 500 million.
Loudiyi said that 10,000 young people are expected to begin service in the military each year beginning in September 2019.