Morocco King Promises Reform

Monarch moves to defuse unrest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 10, 2011 1:20 AM CST
A government supporter, left, holds a picture of Morocco's King Mohammed VI, as antigovernment protesters demonstrate to demand political reforms in Casablanca.   (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)
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(Newser) – King Mohammed VI says Morocco will revise its constitution for the first time in 15 years, aiming to strengthen democracy in the face of a reform push across the Arab world. In a rare TV and radio speech to the nation, the monarch said a new commission will suggest constitutional revisions to him by June, and the overall plan will be put to Moroccan voters in a referendum. Reform will include giving the country's regions greater power, improving the independence of courts, and ensuring that the prime minister is selected by the majority party in parliament, said the king.

"By launching today the work of constitutional reform, we embark on a major phase in the process of consolidation of our model of democracy and development," said the king, flanked by his brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and his 7-year-old son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan. Some Moroccans poured into the streets of the capital of Rabat to celebrate after the speech, blaring car horns and waving the North African country's single-star flag. The king remains popular with most Moroccans, and protests last month targeted the country's parliament, not the monarchy.

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