Moroccan King Vows to Reduce His Powers in Reform Effort

Posted June 17th, 2011 at 9:10 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Moroccan King Mohammed VI on Friday promised reforms that will limit his power in a series of constitutional changes.

The king announced the proposals in a televised nighttime address to the nation. Moroccans will be able to vote next month in a referendum on the changes, which would strengthen the office of prime minister and the parliament. But the king would retain exclusive control in religious and military matters, and would choose the prime minister from the party that won election.

The speech was met with cheers, honks, and flag-waving from Moroccans driving through the streets of the capital, Rabat.

But some activists say the proposed changes do not go far enough. Members of the pro-democracy February 20 movement dismissed them as cosmetic and said the group will continue to protest for deeper democratic reforms.

The king's speech comes in response to nationwide pro-reform demonstrations in recent months inspired by popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Protesters have been demanding improved civil rights and an end to corruption.

The proposals were crafted by a reform panel appointed by the king in March.