Morocco king declares constitutional reforms
Morocco's King Mohammed VI declared a series of Constitutional reforms in a speech on Friday night that he said will turn the country into a Constitutional monarchy. Based on the new Constitution, the king will remain the supreme commander of the army and a new article formalized him as the highest religious authority in the kingdom.
The reform of the constitution represents the monarch's response to the wave of pro-democracy wave sweeping the Middle East and North Africa. The new constitution will be put to a referendum on July 1.
According to the king, the constitutional reform "confirms the features and mechanisms of the parliamentary nature of the Moroccan political system" and laid the basis for an "efficient, rational constitutional system whose core elements are the balance, independence and separation of powers, and whose foremost goal is the freedom and dignity of citizens."
The new constitution promotes the prime minister to the "head of government" and ensures he is selected from the party that received the most votes in election, rather than just chosen by the king. According to the AP, the prime minister also will have the new powers of choosing and dismissing Cabinet members and will be able to fill a number of other government positions.
The king also will continue to chair two key councils - the Council of Ministers and the Supreme Security Council - which make security policy. The Prime Minister can chair these councils, but only using an agenda set by the king.
The reforms also strengthen Parliament, allowing it to launch investigations into officials with the support of just one-fifth of its members.