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Morocco Government


Morocco is a constitutional monarchy led by King Mohammad VI, who succeeded his father, King Hassan II, in 1999. Despite the creation of an elected bicameral parliament with somewhat expanded powers in the constitution of 1996, the king continues to hold the ultimate authority.

Morocco’s first constitution was adopted in March 1962. It has been revised in 1970, 1972, 1992 and, most recently, in September 1996. The latest version established a bicameral legislature. Morocco is divided administratively into 16 regions, three of which lie entirely or partially within the disputed Western Sahara. The 16 regions are subdivided into 41 provinces and 25 prefectures.

Walis, or governors, appointed by the king and regional councils are responsible for managing the country’s 16 regions. Each province has a local government consisting of a centrally appointed governor and an assembly elected by municipal councils. These provincial governments handle local responsibilities delegated to them by the central government such as rural investment and some social services. Each municipality has a mayor and an elected municipal council, which are responsible for basic services involving
public health and safety. Local governments lack autonomy from the central government, which is responsible for taxation and budgeting at all levels of public administration. However, in recent years the central government has been trying to boost the authority of local governments.

The government has three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. The executive branch comprises the king, a hereditary monarch who serves as head of state, and the prime minister, who is appointed by the king following elections to serve as head of government. The king appoints the cabinet ministers on the recommendation of the prime minister and presides over the Council of Ministers. He has the power to dismiss the ministers, dissolve parliament, call for new elections and issue decrees. The king also serves as head of the armed forces, head of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, which appoints Supreme Court
judges, and chief religious leader.

The king’s authority exceeds that of the legislative and judicial branches, although the 1996 constitution included measures to increase the legislative branch’s influence. Reflecting the impact of that document, the legislative branch now has a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Chamber of Representatives (lower house) and the Chamber of Counselors (upper house). The 325 members of the Chamber of Representatives are elected to six-year terms by direct, universal suffrage. The 270 members of the House of Counselors are elected indirectly by local councils, professional organisations, and labour syndicates, whose members are popularly elected. Counselors serve nine-year terms; one-third of the counselors stand for election every three years. Parliament’s still rather limited powers include responsibility for budgetary matters and the right to approve bills, question government ministers, and establish commissions of inquiry
to investigate government actions. Parliament holds the government accountable through the ability of the Chamber of Representatives to force it to resign through a vote of no confidence and through the ability of the Chamber of Counselors to adopt a motion of censure.

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