It was under the watch of the government of Abbas Fassi that a New or a completely revamped constitution emerged out of the blue precipitated by the ‘Arab Spring’ and considered revolutionary by some and more of the same by others. It was put to a referendum on 1 July 2011 and was accepted by 98% of the 74% of the people who made it to the ballot box. This kind of results might seem bizarre to us in West, but Arabs and Muslims always claim their singularity and uniqueness from the outside world as they fail to see the other.
However, this apart, the most important innovative change made is that of the role of the Prime Minister, who becomes the President of Government and is given to the party with majority votes at elections, a great improvement of the previous ones, bringing this nomination in line to what is generally recognized as one of the principles of democracy. In other words, now the king can no longer choose any prime minster as it used to be the case, but must respect the will of the people through elections and name the new president of the government from the party that received the most votes.
The king will no longer participate in or preside over the meetings of the cabinet. Rather, it is incumbent on the president of the government now to over this function in the renamed Council of Government. However, the king still, under special cases, presides over the cabinet, which in that instance is still called the Council of Ministers, when security issues or strategic policy decisions are at stake. The royal cabinet still has its staff intact forming the shadow cabinet, the think-tank and the executive, especially in relation to the allocated Hassan II funds. In addition, the king still kept control of three major areas of power, namely religious affairs, which might be similar to the Queen of England as the Head of the Church and moving towards all faiths, which Prince Charles has been promoting for years, security issues and strategic major policy choices, which remain feudal and more of the same.
The king will remain the supreme commander of the armed forces and arbiter among political parties, as prescribed in Title III, article 42 of the new constitution describing him as a “Head of State…supreme arbiter that transcends political partisanship, upholds the nation’s democratic choices, and guarantees the adequacy of constitutional institutions.” This again is no different than the powers given to the French president, but he is an elected President and not of divine right. The other major renovation is the second preamble stating that “[Morocco is] a sovereign Muslim State, committed to the ideals of openness, moderation, tolerance and dialogue to foster mutual understanding among all civilizations; A Nation whose unity is based on the fully endorsed diversity of its constituents: Arabic, Amazigh, Hassani, Sub-Saharan, African, Andalusian, Jewish and Mediterranean components.”
Full Article: Morocco’s New Constitution and Upcoming General Elections.