Key reforms proposed in Morocco's new constitution

AFP , Wednesday 29 Jun 2011

Moroccans go to the polls Friday to vote in a referendum on constitutional reforms proposed by King Mohammed VI in the wake of popular uprisings throughout the Arab world

Following are the key reforms proposed:

THE POWERS OF THE KING

-- The king will name a prime minister from within the political party that wins the most seats in parliament. Under the current constitution, the king is required only to "name a prime minister," with no further requirements.
-- Court rulings will still be made in the name of the king and he will name judges. The king will also retain his right to grant amnesties.
-- The king remains the Commander of the Faithful, the top religious authority in the kingdom. A reference to the king as "sacred" in the current constitution will be removed, though he will remain "inviolable".

THE POWERS OF THE PRIME MINISTER

-- Under the new constitution, the prime minister will preside over the Government Council, which will prepare government policy before it is presented to cabinet, still presided over by the king.
-- The prime minister becomes the "head of the government" and has the power to dissolve the lower house of parliament, a right formerly only granted to the king.

THE POWERS OF PARLIAMENT

-- Parliament's role will be expanded to give it more oversight of such matters as civil rights and freedoms, amnesty, electoral districts and nationality issues.

INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

-- For the first time in a North African state, the indigenous Berber language will become an official state language along with Arabic.
-- The new constitution will guarantee "civic and social" equality between men and women. The previous constitution guaranteed only "political" equality.

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