Moroccow King's aide says reforms planned

AFP , Wednesday 2 Mar 2011

Morocco's King to announce political, economic and social reforms according to close aide

An advisor to Morocco's King Mohammed VI has told union leaders that the monarch plans a range of reforms following uprisings that have rocked the Arab world, a union activist said  on Wednesday.

Mohammed Moatassim held an informal meeting with five union representatives at his home in Rabat on Sunday, media reported.

One of those present, Democratic Federation of Labour secretary general Abderrahmane Azzouzi, told AFP the advisor "announced to us that the king has decided to start political, economic and social reforms." He also "specified that Morocco cannot remain indifferent to what is happening around it," Azzouzi said.

"Mr Moatassim told us that it is not because there is no fire here that we must not react," he said, referring to popular uprisings under way in Arab countries, with ones in Tunisia and Egypt toppling their leaders.

The meeting took place a week after thousands of people rallied on February 20 to demand political reform and limits on the powers of the king, who took the throne in 1999.

Though largely peaceful, the protest was followed by unrest that left six people dead. Five died in a bank that was set alight and another from injuries caused during "acts of vandalism", according to the official MAP news agency.

After the demonstrations, the government declared that it had "got the message" and would speed up reforms.

On February 26 almost 1,000 people rallied amid a heavy police presence in the country's biggest city Casablanca, to demand political reforms and a new constitution, a witness told AFP.


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