Monday, June 27, 2011

Morocco: Pro-Democracy Movement Calls for Boycott

The February 20 movement is calling for the boycott on the upcoming referendum on a Constitutional amendment introduced by the king on his June 17 speech. The movement released this video today outlining the main reasons behind their call.

For English subtitles, click on CC.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ahmed Benchemsi on Al Jazeera: "Pro-democracy supporters will boycott the poll"

In this short interview with Al Jazeera, Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi reacts to Moroccan king's speech. Benchemsi considers that the outlines of the new Constitution as announced by the king tonight, show little progress in the way of insuring a real separation of powers. He also says the pro-democracy camp will probably boycott the poll, praising the role played by Moroccan activists on the Internet, especially a group called Mamfakinch (We Won't Give up!) which has called for an equal share of airtime on public TV and radio during the referendum campaign between those who agree and those who disagree with the process.


Friday, June 17, 2011

King of Morocco Addresses Nation

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has addressed the nation tonight. In a highly anticipated speech, the monarch announced a series of constitutional reforms covering the executive prerogatives of the king himself, the separation of powers and the ways of establishing a constitutional democracy in Morocco.

The outlines of the new Constitution, as announced by the king tonight, show that it will be pretty much like the old one--fundamentally institutionalizing a system of governance based on an executive monarchy.

The king also announced the date of the referendum (July 1), thereby calling the people to vote in favor of the draft. The speech marks the official launch of a campaign which will only last for a short period of 13 days. This apparent haste in holding a referendum so quickly, could be explained by the fact that the Moroccan regime wants to do away with the issue of real reforms at this stage and gain a new legitimacy through the polls without having to fulfill the urgent demands articulated by the February 20 pro-democratic movement which dismissed the constitutional review processes as lacking popular legitimacy and called for the election of a constitutional body able to draft a brand new Constitution.

All in all, the Constitution announced today by the King, although containing some relatively positive steps such as the promotion of the roles of the parliament and Prime Minister, leaves significant powers in the hands of the king and his immediate entourage, who are all beyond any form of accountability.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ahmed Benchemsi: The Anatomy of the Moroccan Dictatorship (#feb20)

Ahmed Benchemsi is a celebrated Moroccan journalist, former editor, publisher and founder of popular weekly magazines TelQuel and--the now-disappeared--Nichane (Straight Forward). Mr. Benchemsi has now moved to the US where he works as a researcher at Stanford University. Here he speaks at the Oslo Freedom Forum about what he calls "the subtleties" of both the Moroccan dictatorship and that of the pro-democracy youth movement. He dissects, then entertainingly demystifies some of the major arguments the Moroccan regime usually uses to sell its image abroad as an "Arab exception." A must watch presentation!