Morocco to Hold Early Elections on November 25

Posted August 16th, 2011 at 8:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Morocco says it will hold early parliamentary elections on November 25, as the monarchy pursues democratic reforms designed to head off “Arab Spring”-style protests.

The country's official TAP news agency reported that Interior Minister Taieb Cherkaoui announced the date Tuesday. The elections were expected in late 2012, but Morocco's King Mohammed called for a prompt vote so the country can create a new government.

Some of Morocco's political parties had argued that more time was needed to prepare for the poll.

Earlier this year, Moroccans overwhelming voted to adopt constitutional reforms that would curb the king's powers. The king proposed the constitutional changes in response to the country's so-called February 20 movement that has been holding regular protests to demand a parliamentary monarchy in the kingdom.

Critics say the new constitution still keeps King Mohammed firmly in power by allowing him to choose the prime minister from the winning party, and by letting him oversee the country's religious matters, security apparatus and judiciary.

The 47-year-old King Mohammed took the throne in 1999. During much of his rule, he has held virtually all power in the country and still sits as its top religious authority.