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Politics of Morocco

The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary. Ultimate authority rests with the King. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister following legislative elections; appoints all members of the government taking into account the Prime Minister's recommendations; and may, at his discretion, terminate the tenure of any minister, dissolve the Parliament, call for new elections, or rule by decree. The King is the head of the military and the country's religious leader. Upon the death of his father Mohammed V, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne in 1961. He ruled Morocco for the next 38 years, until his own death in 1999. His son, King Mohammed VI, assumed the throne in July 1999.

Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of a lower chamber, the Chamber of Representatives, which is directly elected and an upper chamber, the Chamber of Counselors, whose members are indirectly elected through various regional, local, and professional councils. The councils' members themselves are elected directly. The Parliament's powers, though limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 constitutional revisions and include budgetary matters, approving bills, questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence.

In March 1998, King Hassan named a coalition government headed by opposition socialist leader Abderrahmane Youssoufi and composed largely of ministers drawn from opposition parties. Prime Minister Youssoufi's government is the first government drawn primarily from opposition parties in decades, and also represents the first opportunity for a coalition of socialist, left-of-center, and nationalist parties to be included in the government.

The highest court in the judicial structure is the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the King. The Youssoufi government continues to implement a reform program to develop greater judicial independence and impartiality. Morocco is divided into 16 administrative regions; the regions are administered by Walis and governors appointed by the King.

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form: Morocco
local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah (Arabic: المملكة المغربيّة)
local short form: Al Maghrib (Arabic: المغرب)

Data code: MO

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Rabat (Arabic: الرّباط)

Administrative divisions: 37 provinces and 2 wilayas*; Agadir, Al Hoceima, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Ben Slimane, Boulemane, Casablanca*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Srarhna, Er Rachidia, Essaouira, Fes, Figuig, Guelmim, Ifrane, Kenitra, Khemisset, Khenifra, Khouribga, Laayoune, Larache, Marrakech, Meknes, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat-Sale*, Safi, Settat, Sidi Kacem, Tanger, Tan-Tan, Taounate, Taroudannt, Tata, Taza, Tetouan, Tiznit
note: three additional provinces of Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara; decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature in March 1997 creating many new provinces/regions; specific details and scope of the reorganization not yet available

Independence: 2 March 1956 (from France)

National holiday: Throne Day or Sete de Throne 30 July (1999) (anniversary of King MOHAMED VI's accession to the throne)

Constitution: 10 March 1972, revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996

Legal system: based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: King Mohammed VI[?] (الملك محمد السادس للمغرب) (since 23 July 1999)
head of government: Prime Minister Abderrahmane YOUSSOUFI (عبد الرحمن يوسفي) (since 14 March 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Chamber of Counselors (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates for nine-year terms; one-third of the members are renewed every three years) and a lower house or Chamber of Representatives (325 seats; members elected by popular vote for five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held 5 December 1997 (next to be held NA December 2000); Chamber of Representatives - last held 14 November 1997 (next to be held NA November 2002)
election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RNI 42, MDS 33, UC 28, MP 27, PND 21, IP 21, USFP 16, MNP 15, UT 13, FFD 12, CDT 11, UTM 8, PPS 7, PSD 4, PDI 4, UGTM 3, UNMT 2, other 3; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - USFP 57, UC 50, RNI 46, MP 40, MDS 32, IP 32, MNP 19, PND 10, MPCD 9, PPS 9, FFD 9, PSD 5, OADP 4, PA 2, PDI 1
note: CDT, UTM, UGTM, UNMT are all labor unions listed under Political pressure groups and leaders; see explanation in the description of Parliament

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: Action Party or PA [Ahmed ABAKIL]; Constitutional Union or UC [Abdellatif SEMLALI]; Democratic Forces Front or FFD [Thami KHIARI]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [Issa al-OUARDIGHI]; Democratic Party for Independence or PDI [Thami el-OUAZZANI, Said BOUACHRINE]; Istiqlal Party or IP [Abbas EL-FASSI]; Labor Party or UT [leader NA]; National Democratic Party or PND [Mohamed Arsalane EL-JADIDI]; National Popular Movement or MNP [Mahjoubi AHARDANE]; National Rally of Independents or RNI [Ahmed OSMAN]; Organization of Democratic and Popular Action or OADP [Mohamed BENSAID]; Party of Progress and Socialism or PPS [Moulay Ismail al ALAOUI]; Popular Constitutional and Democratic Movement or MPCD [Dr. Abdelkarim al-KHATIB]; Popular Movement or MP [Mohamed LAENSER]; Social Democratic Movement or MDS [Mahmoud ARCHANE]; Socialist Union of Popular Forces or USFP [Abderrahmane YOUSSOUFI]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Association of Popular Trade Unions or ADP [leader NA]; Democratic Confederation of Labor or CDT [Noubir AMAOUI]; Democratic National Trade Union or USND [leader NA]; Democratic Trade Union or SD [leader NA]; General Union of Moroccan Workers or UGTM [Abderrazzak AFILAL]; Labor Union Commissions or CS [leader NA]; Moroccan National Workers Union or UNMT [leader NA]; Moroccan Union of Workers or UTM [Mahjoub BENSEDIQ]; Party of Shura and Istiqla [Abdelwaheb MAASH];

International organization participation: ABEDA, ACCT (associate), AfDB, AFESD, AL, AMF, AMU, CCC, EBRD, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAS (observer), OAU, OIC, OPCW, OSCE (partner), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

See also : Morocco



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