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Morocco - Constitutional & Legal Foundations

moroccan king union party

Immediately after gaining independence from France on March 2, 1956, Morocco opted for a constitutional monarchy form of government. Under this type of political structure, the king is a hereditary monarch. He is the head of state and appoints the government chief or prime minister (premier ministre) and the cabinet (conseil de ministres). King Hassan II accessed the throne on March 3, 1961, and reigned until his death in 1999. King Mohamed VI became king on July 23, 1999.

On March 10, 1972, and September 4, 1992, the Moroccan constitution was approved and expanded, and, in September 1996, it was amended to create a bicameral legislature. The upper house or Chamber of Counselors (Chambre de Conseillers) is composed of 270 members who are indirectly elected by local councils (conseillers locaux), professional organizations (organisations professionnelles), and labor syndicates or unions (syndicats de travail) for nine-year terms; one-third of the members are elected every three years. The lower house or Chamber of Representatives (Chambre de Représentants) has 325 members who are elected directly by popular vote for five-year terms. Both males and females can vote at age 21.

There are more than 20 political parties, professional organizations, and unions in Morocco. Among the most prominent are the Independence (Istiqlal) Party, the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP), the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS), the Organization of Democratic and Popular Action (OADP), the Democratic Socialist Party (PSD), the Constitutional Union (UC), the Labor Party (UT), the General Union of Moroccan Workers (UGTM), and the Democratic Trade Union (SD).

Judicially, the Moroccan legal system is equally multi-based. It is predicated upon Islamic law (Chari'a Islamya) and French and Spanish civil laws. The highest court of the land is the Moroccan Supreme Court, which is located in Rabat, the country's political and administrative capital. Justices are appointed on the advisory of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (le Conseil Judiciare Suprême), which, in turn, is headed by the Moroccan king.

Morocco faces many of the typical challenges and opportunities of a developing nation. Since the early 1960s, the government has recognized the importance of education at all levels: preschool, primary, secondary, university, technical, and vocational.


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