I listened to the King's speech live on the radio yesterday and I must say that I was deeply moved after hearing the words "Constitutional Reform", simply because I did not expect the King to respond to this particular aspect of the people's list of demands. Yes, I'm a dreamer, but I can be a pessimist too sometimes.
But what struck me most is this part of the speech:
"Consistent with what I had announced in my address on 20 August 2010, commemorating the anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People, I call on everyone to continue contributing to this general plan to bring it to maturity, through a wide-ranging, constructive national debate.
The Committee proposed a gradual approach, namely to institute advanced regionalization through the enactment of a law, under the current institutional framework, until the right conditions are therefore the constitutionalization of regionalization.
However, considering our accomplishments in the area of promoting democracy, I personally consider that Morocco is in a position today to start enshrining advanced regionalization in the Constitution."
Basically what I think he's saying to the people is:
Yes my people, I hear you loud and clear and even though I'm way ahead of you on this, we're in it together: He said "Revolution of the King and the People"....imagine THAT!
What else did he say?
Please don't stop: "continue contributing to.....constructive national debate"
But first things first, let's get our house in order and put key elements in place: "gradual approach"
And now that you have finally come forward and voiced your concerns collectively, we (King & Nation) are finally ready to launch: "democracy...today".....not tomorrow or next year, TODAY!
In other words: Morocco's rebirth started its INFANCY when King Mohamed VI assumed the throne - followed by a stormy period loaded with ups and downs in terms of freedom, where the people tried to assert themselves in a way that's typical to the natural process of PUBERTY....after which the inevitable is now happening: MATURITY. Meaning the time has come for Moroccans to be taken seriously...Morocco has proved that it's now finally ready for true democracy, especially after it did not cave in to external regional pressures of popular uprisings, but instead, continues to pursue an evolutionary process rather than that revolutionary one that's rocking the region today.
But in order for true democracy to take shape and come full circle, the King says that following key elements need to take place first:
- Give the region its rightful place in the Constitution as a territorial entity, within the framework of the unity of the State, the nation and the territory, keeping in mind the requirements of balance and national solidarity at inter- and intraregional levels;
- Stipulate that regional councils shall be elected through direct universal suffrage, and that regional affairs shall be run in accordance with democratic principles;
- Empower the presidents of regional councils – instead of governors and walis – to implement council decisions;
- Promote the participation of women in the management of regional affairs in particular, and the exercise of political rights in general; in this respect, the law should favour equal access by women and men to elected office;
- Review the composition and powers of the House of Councillors thoroughly and in such a way as to enhance the regions’ representation in the House. As regards the representation of trade unions and professional organizations, it remains guaranteed by several institutions, particularly the Economic and Social Council, the aim being to rationalize the performance of institutional bodies.
Meanwhile a new and improved pluralistic constitution is in the works as of yesterday, responding to the people's demands as follows:
1. Enshrine in the Constitution the rich, variegated yet unified character of the Moroccan identity, including the Amazigh component as a core element and common asset belonging to all Moroccans;
2. Consolidate the rule of law and the institution-based State; expand the scope of collective and individual freedoms and guarantee their practice; promote all types of human rights – political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as those relating to development and the environment – especially by inscribing, in the Constitution, the Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s well-founded recommendations as well as Morocco’s international commitments in this domain.
3. Elevate the judiciary to the status of an independent power and reinforce the prerogatives of the Constitutional Council to enhance the primacy of the Constitution, of the rule of law and of equality before the law;
4. Strengthen the principle of separation of powers, with the relating checks and balances, and promote the democratization, revamping and rationalization of institutions through the following:
* A parliament emerging from free, fair elections, and in which the House of Representatives plays the prominent role; expand the scope of legislative action and provide parliament with new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative and regulatory mission;
* An elected government which reflects the will of the people, through the ballot box, and which enjoys the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives;
* Confirming the appointment of the Prime Minister from the political party which wins the most seats in parliamentary election, as attested by election results;
* Consolidating the status of the Prime Minister as the head of an effective executive branch, who is fully responsible for government, civil service and the implementation of the government’s agenda;
* Enshrining, in the Constitution, the Governing Council as an institution and specifying its prerogatives;
5. Shore up constitutional mechanisms for providing guidance to citizens, by invigorating the role of political parties within the framework of an effective pluralistic system, and by bolstering the standing of parliamentary opposition as well as the role of civil society;
6. Reinforce mechanisms for boosting moral integrity in public life, and establish a link between the exercise of power and the holding of public office with oversight and accountability;
7. Enshrine in the Constitution the institutions concerned with good governance, human rights and protection of liberties.
Well done Your Majesty!
All in all a very positive speech full of promises that inspire and restore hope, leaving me (and I'm sure many others) wondering what we can do to contribute as a citizens and help insure that the Moroccan dream does come true.
Here's to freedom, the pursuit of development and the pursuit of happiness!
God bless Morocco!
If you're looking for a more in-depth round-up on the King's speech, especially when it comes to reflecting the internal battles going on within the Moroccan psyche in terms of trust and distrust towards the regime, please check out The Moorish Wanderer's insightful take.