Morocco's King Mohammed VI: "We have managed to develop a new democratic constitutional charter after launching an initiative to revise the constitution three months ago. This new constitution is based on the framework proposed in my last speech on the 9th of March."
The changes would give some of the king's power to the parliament and government.
Thousands demand reform in Morocco rally
Why Morocco won’t be next
Moroccans who took to the street said they were looking forward to voting on the proposed amendments in the July 1 referendum.
One local man said, "Thanks to the king for this new constitution. We are applauding this big initiative, long live the king, Morocco and Islam."
The proposed amendments came about after protesters demanded a free judiciary and more power for elected government officials.
The protests were the biggest anti-establishment demonstrations in decades.
Under the proposals the 47-year-old monarch would still hold an important role in the day-to-day running of the country.
Morocco's King Mohammed VI promised a new democratic constitution on
Friday that would devolve some of his powers to parliament and the
government, adding Moroccans would be able to vote for the changes in a
July 1 referendum.
The reformed constitution will shift some powers to government and hold
officials more accountable, but the king will retain his grip on
security, the army and religion, according to a draft seen by Reuters
earlier in the day.
Addressing the nation in a TV address, Mohammed said he would vote for the new charter and urged Moroccans to do likewise.
"We have managed ... to develop a new democratic constitutional charter," he said.
"I am addressing you today to renew our joint commitment to achieving a
significant transition in completing the construction of a state based
on the rule of law and on democratic institutions, and ... good
After facing the biggest anti-establishment protests in decades, King
Mohammed in March ordered a hand-picked committee to discuss
constitutional reform with political parties, trade unions and NGOs. The
brief was to trim the 47-year-old monarch's clout and make the
The moves by King Mohammed, who heads the Arab world's longest-serving
dynasty, are being closely monitored by Gulf Arab monarchies which have
so far dodged calls at home for reforms and are concerned the Moroccan
model may raise expectations in their countries.
The final draft of the reformed constitution explicitly grants the
government executive powers, although the king would keep exclusive
control over military and religious fields and pick a prime minister
from the party that wins the polls.
Ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors, who are interior
ministry representatives, would be proposed by the prime minister
although the king has to approve the choices.
"The constitution gives the head of government (prime minister) the
power to propose and dismiss cabinet members, to steer and coordinate
government action, and to supervise public service," Mohammed said in
his speech, but he added that he was "the trustworthy guide and supreme
"Appointments in the military remain an exclusive, sovereign prerogative
of the King, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed
Forces," he said.
Further, the prime minister would be able to dissolve the lower house of
parliament after consulting the king, house speaker and head of the
The new constitution would "enshrine citizenship-based monarchy and the citizen king," Mohammed said.
Najib Chawki, an activist from the February 20 Movement, said the
constitutional reform draft "does not respond to the essence of our
demands which is establishing a parliamentary monarchy. We are basically
moving from a de facto absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy".
The movement has called for the creation in Morocco of a parliamentary
monarchy, an end to the influence of the king's inner circle, the
dismissal of the government, and for officials and businessmen it
accuses of corruption to be put on trial.
Driss Lachgar, Minister in charge of relations with parliament, called
the draft "a real revolution and laid the foundations for a
Protesters have also demanded that the king fight corruption and limit the influence of the secretive palace elite.
But they have not gone as far as demanding an end to the Arab world's
longest-serving dynasty and have failed to win the sort of mass popular
support that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, uprisings which
inspired the February 20 Movement.
They have, however, attracted activists of various ideological
backgrounds from extreme-left to Islamists and from wealthy businessmen
to indigenous Amazigh activists.
The reformed constitution allows the king to delegate the task of
chairing ministerial council meetings to the prime minister, which can
appoint provincial governors and ambassadors, prerogatives currently
exclusive to the king.
The February 20 Movement plans to push ahead with protests planned for
Sunday. "We will continue to mobilize Moroccans for a democratic
constitution that widens the scope of public freedoms," said Chawki.
Under the proposed reforms, the king would still be able to dissolve
parliament but only after consulting the chairman of a newly introduced
Constitutional Court, of which half the members will be appointed by the
The reform will introduce a Supreme Security Council which will be
chaired by the king as a platform for consultations on domestic and
foreign security issues.
It will include among its members the prime minister, speakers of the bi-cameral parliament and senior army officers.
The reformed constitution also recognizes Tamazight as an official
language alongside Arabic, a move which looks set to appease Amazigh
activists within February 20 Movement. Amazigh are North Africa's
original inhabitants before Arabs conquered it in the seventh century to