State Structure and Political System of Morocco

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy. The king is the temporal and spiritual head of state (“commander of the faithful”). He really rules: he determines the nature of socio-economic development, the domestic and foreign policy of the country. Check cancermatters for political system of Morocco.

The current Constitution was approved at a popular referendum on September 4, 1992. Amendments were adopted at a referendum on September 13, 1996.

The head of state has broad powers: he is the supreme commander in chief; declares a state of emergency; actually forms and approves the composition of the government, appointing and removing the prime minister and other members of the cabinet, civilian and military officials, and diplomatic representatives; concludes and ratifies international treaties; promulgates laws approved by Parliament; has the right of suspensive veto.

In administrative-territorial terms, Morocco is divided into 7 regions (Center, North-West, Tensift, South, Center-North, Center-South, East) and prefectures. It is the only country with 5 capitals. Official – Rabat (with a suburb of Sale); business, economic – Casablanca; historical – the cities of Marrakesh and Meknes; religious, spiritual – Fes. Other major cities: Oujda, Agadir, Tangier, Kenitra, Beni Mellal, Safi, Tetuan, Khouribga, etc.

The highest legislative body is a bicameral parliament: the upper one is the House of Councilors (elected by electors from regions, associations and trade unions); lower – the House of Representatives (elected by the population). The highest body of executive power is the government. The head of state is King Mohammed VI. Speaker of the House of Councilors (elected December 5, 1997; number of deputies – 270) – Mustafa Okasha. Speaker of the House of Representatives (elected on September 27, 2002; the number of deputies – 325) – Abdelwahed Radi. The prime minister is Dries Jetta (appointed by the king in 2002).

The first head of independent Morocco was King (1956–61) Mohammed V (1909–61), who was a symbol of the national liberation movement of the Moroccan people. After his death, his eldest son Hassan II (1929–99) became king (1961–99), and from July 30, 1999, his grandson Mohammed VI (born 1964).

Territorial-administrative units – regions – are headed by governors appointed by the king and completely subordinate to him.

There is a multi-party system: 27 legal political parties (7 of them are members of the government coalition). The most influential are the Istiklal Party (PI, Independence, founded in 1943); Constitutional Union (CC, 1983); People’s Movement (ND, 1959); National Democratic Party (NDP, 1981); National People’s Movement (NND, 1991); National Association of Independents (NON, 1978); National Union of Popular Forces (NSNS, 1959); Socialist Union of Popular Forces (SSNS, 1974); Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS, 1974).

The Moroccan Labor Union (MTU, 1955) is the largest trade union association, adjoins the NSNS, has 300 thousand members (2000), is a member of the ICAP and the OAPE; General Union of Workers (UGT, 1960), founded by the PI in opposition to the MTU, 100,000 members (2000); Democratic Confederation of Labor (VCT, 1978), created by the SSNC, 150,000 members (2000).

In February 1998, following the results of the parliamentary elections, A. Yusufi, leader of the opposition center-left party SSNS, was appointed prime minister. In March, the composition of the government was approved. A significant part of the portfolios in it went to representatives of the party he leads. The main activities of the government: the restoration of the territorial integrity of the kingdom; consolidation of democratic forces; development of the national economy; solution of social problems; strengthening social solidarity.

King Mohammed VI determined the construction of a legal state in Morocco as priority areas of activity for himself; observance of human rights and ensuring freedom of speech; eradication of corruption in the highest echelons of power; increase in employment; redistribution of powers between the center and regions; improvement of the education system; the advancement of women; the eradication of poverty among the masses, for which a special development fund was established in the amount of more than 700 million US dollars.

However, the lack of experienced advisers and qualified experts under the king who can help him quickly end the economic difficulties caused by the stagnation of the economy, the dependence of agriculture on climatic conditions, high unemployment, a deep gap between rich and poor, as well as conservative sentiments that prevail in the royal palace and the government, led to the fact that the concrete results of the promised, but never started reforms did not follow. A serious problem for the king was the rise of the movement of Islamist fundamentalists, who actively sought participation in the political life of the country.

In the field of foreign policy, King Mohammed VI continues the course of developing versatile relations with industrialized countries, primarily EU member states, mainly with France, as well as with the United States. With a number of NATO member countries (in particular, with the United States, France, Spain), the kingdom is bound by agreements on military and military-technical cooperation and participates in the so-called program. NATO Mediterranean Initiative, or “Mediterranean Dialogue”. As part of the dialogue, Morocco participates in regular joint military exercises, coordination of plans for the use of the Armed Forces, incl. near the Moroccan borders. The governments of France and the United States are the main suppliers of military equipment for the Royal Armed Forces.

The problem of Western Sahara remains a priority direction of foreign policy. The unsettledness of the conflict due to the Algerian-Moroccan contradictions on the problem hinders the integration of the UAM member countries. Relations with other countries in the region, in particular with Libya and Mauritania, are normal.

An active direction of foreign policy activity is the Middle East policy. It is built on the principles of mutual understanding, support, solidarity and cooperation. Mohammed VI (who headed the Jerusalem Committee of the OIC after the death of King Hassan II) took on the mediation mission in the peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict by establishing an Arab-Israeli dialogue and a peaceful solution to the Iraqi problem.

To do this, he held a series of meetings and negotiations with the leaders of the countries of the Middle East, North Africa, as well as with the leadership of the Russian Federation to discuss and develop joint solutions to the problems of the region.

Armed forces (thousand people, mid-2001) 198.5, incl. Ground forces – 175.0; Navy – 10.0; Air Force – 13.5. Royal Guard 12.0; paramilitary militias 30.0; reservists 150.0.

Morocco has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on September 1, 1958).

Politics of Morocco