Morocco's democratic election
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
Saturday, 26 November 2011

Moroccan election officials are counting votes after Friday's first parliamentary election since King Mohammed VI  introduced constitutional reforms approved in a referendum on 1 July, reports the  Al Jazeera  news service (26/11). 

In the meantime the news agency was reporting violent demonstrations against the rulers in several Arab countries including Egypt and Syria.
Morocco is clearly one of the more democratic among Arab and middle eastern countries.

Morocco was a constitutional monarchy under King Mohammed V who fought for and obtained independence from France in 1956, and then negotiating the dissolution of both the northern Spanish protectorate and  the international zone of Tangier. (Tangier was English from 1661 to 1684, being part of the dowry of Portuguese Infanta Catherine of Braganza on her marriage to King Charles II)   

King Moahmmed V's son Hassan II was more authoritarian, especially after two assassination attempts, one organised by the Defence Minister General Ouffkir. But in the latter part of his reign he moved more towards democracy.  

His son King Mohammed VI is reform oriented and favours a constitutional monarchy not dissimilar to those which existed in Egypt and Iraq before the army imposed republics on the people. it would allows more poer to the King thanin, say, Australia and is thus more like our ealier constitutional monarchy during the reign of William II and Mary II.

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...45% turnout...  



In Friday’s election around 45 per cent of registered voters turned out to cast their ballots. (As in most democracies , voting is not compulsory.)

International observers have described the turnout as "satisfying" in comparison with 2007, when only 37 per cent of eligible voters went to polls.

Italian observer Matteo Mecacci told journalists there was "no indication" of fraud. About 4,000 national and international observers were present to ensure transparency.

 

 

Overall 31 parties are vying for the 395 seats in the lower house of parliament, 70 more than during the last election in 2007. Sixty of the overall parliamentary seats are reserved exclusively for women, and 30 seats for young people.




...media free...

 

As the Agence France Presse video report above indicates, there was a call for a boycott and there is some dissatisfaction among the populace mainly about economic progress. Note however that AFP was free to take these interviews and people seem not at all backward to speak and criticise the government