King Mohammed VI

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Morocco: Amid boycott calls Morocco prepares for local elections | Al Jazeera

Volunteers were knocking on doors in the residential neighbourhood of Agdal in Rabat on Wednesday to drum up votes amid a political malaise that has gripped the country in recent years. The volunteers were members of the Democratic Leftist Federation, a coalition of groups headed by Nabila Mounib, leader of the Unified Socialist Party, running a campaign called “vivre ensemble”, or live together. “We abandoned politics because we didn’t trust anyone any more and we didn’t think elections could make a difference,” said Fouzia El Hamidi, 60, a member of the federation who wore a white shirt bearing the image of the yellow envelope symbol that represented the coalition. “We are running a campaign of transparency and honesty.” On Friday, Moroccans go to the polls to choose among 300,000 candidates from 36 parties for their local representatives. Among the frontrunners are the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which leads the country’s coalition government, and the Authenticity and Modernity Party, a group close to King Mohammed VI.

Full Article: Morocco prepares for local elections amid boycott calls - Yahoo Maktoob News.

Morocco: Elections challenged by voter mistrust | Yahoo! News

It should be a moment of excitement: Moroccans are choosing a parliament in elections Friday prompted by the Arab Spring’s clamor for freedom. Yet there are few signs here that elections are even taking place. Posters and raucous rallies for candidates are absent in the cities and instead there are just stark official banners urging citizens to “do their national duty” and “participate in the change the country is undergoing.”

“The parties have presented the same people for the past 30 years, the least they could do is change their candidates,” said Hassan Rafiq, a vegetable vendor in the capital Rabat, who said he didn’t plan to vote. Like elsewhere in the Arab world, Moroccans hit the streets in the first half of 2011 calling for more democracy, and King Mohammed VI responded by amending the constitution and bringing forward elections. But since then the sense of change has dissipated.

Full Article: Moroccan elections challenged by voter mistrust - Yahoo! News.

Morocco: Morocco Votes in First Ballot Since Reform of Parliament | NYTimes

Under pressure from the Arab Spring uprisings, King Mohammed VI of Morocco proposed a new constitution last summer providing for a more empowered Parliament. On Friday, voters went to the polls to determine its makeup.

The new constitution reserves critical powers for the throne, which retains absolute authority over military and religious matters. But while still appointed by the king, the prime minister must be chosen from the party with the most seats in Parliament.

Full Article: Morocco Votes in First Ballot Since Reform of Parliament - NYTimes.com.

Morocco: Elections challenged by voter mistrust | San Francisco Chronicle

It should be a moment of excitement: Moroccans are choosing a parliament in elections Friday prompted by the Arab Spring’s clamor for freedom. Yet there are few signs here that elections are even taking place. Posters and raucous rallies for candidates are absent in the cities and instead there are just stark official banners urging citizens to “do their national duty” and “participate in the change the country is undergoing.”

“The parties have presented the same people for the past 30 years, the least they could do is change their candidates,” said Hassan Rafiq, a vegetable vendor in the capital Rabat, who said he didn’t plan to vote.

Like elsewhere in the Arab world, Moroccans hit the streets in the first half of 2011 calling for more democracy, and King Mohammed VI responded by amending the constitution and bringing forward elections. But since then the sense of change has dissipated.

Full Article: Moroccan elections challenged by voter mistrust.

Morocco: Islamist group calls for election boycott | Ahram Online

Morocco’s popular Islamist Justice and Benevolence movement on Tuesday called for a boycott of 25 November parliamentary polls called by the king in response to pro-democracy protests.

“We call on the Moroccan people to boycott this process based on lies and illusions,” the movement, which is not officially recognised but tolerated by the authorities, said in a statement. “We also call on Morocco’s political, intellectual and economic elite to follow the February 20 movement, which is the movement of the people.”

The February 20 Movement, which takes its name from its first day of protest, was inspired by pro-democracy groups that have sprung up across the Arab world this year. Tuesday’s announcement is the latest boycott call of the November polls. In September Morocco’s opposition Unified Socialist Party announced that it would boycott the election, joining two far-left parties.

Full Article: Morocco's Islamist group calls for election boycott - Region - World - Ahram Online.

Morocco: 98% Moroccans vote for constitutional reforms | The Times of India

An overwhelming 98% of Moroccans voted for constitutional reforms transferring more powers to parliament, and setting the country on course for democratization that it has huge aspirations for but little experience in.

The Friday referendum, cast under the hot sun of 41 degrees, logged a 73% turnout of which almost 98% said in the affirmative to the proposals conceived by a committee, appointed by the Palace in the wake of anger in the Arab world that has popularly come to be known as the Arab Spring.

The vote was a fait accompli since the day King Mohammed VI proposed the reforms, and marks a big step towards relieving the burgeoning expectations of a citizenry — especially the youth — that is fast integrating with the world at large. What made the Moroccan celebrations special was the stark contrast it struck with the resurfacing of fierce rebellion on the Arab street on Friday — a resurgence against the Al Assad regime in Syria, and a desperate threat from Muammar Gaddafi to unleash terror in Europe if NATO did not stop its support for Libyan rebels.

Full Article: 98% Moroccans vote for constitutional reforms - The Times of India.

Morocco: Moroccans Vote on Draft Constitution That Gives More Power to Parliament | Bloomberg

Moroccans vote in a referendum today on a draft constitution drawn up at the orders of King Mohammed VI, with activists who demand a reduction in the monarch’s powers calling for a boycott of the vote.

Under the proposal, the prime minister would be chosen from the party that wins elections. The king would retain the power to overrule or dissolve the parliament, and his role as “commander of the faithful” in the Islamic country. Polls open at 8 a.m. local time and close at 7 p.m., with 13 million people eligible to vote. It’s not clear when results will be announced.

Full Article: Moroccans Vote on Draft Constitution That Gives More Power to Parliament - Bloomberg.