March 10, 2013
The Moroccan monarchy was able to remain in power without conflict after the Arab spring. The 2011 constitutional reforms may have been one of the biggest reasons for this. The 2011 reforms, took many powers from the monarchy, including giving the power of dissolution of parliament to an elected prime minister. However, there has been continued discontent and demand for social and political change within the country as Moroccans aren’t seeing the much after the immediate effects of 2011.
Although there was an increase in the voter turnout as a result of the 2011 reforms, 37% in 2007 to 45% in the 2011 elections, much of the countries’ population is still not involved in the voting process[i]. The reforms of 2011 did much to quell the violence, but protests continue in reaction to the slow pace of reforms. Protests in January wounded dozens of police officers and ten protesters ended up in jail. More than 60 were wounded December 28 and 29 in Marrakesh.[ii]
Police stand guard at protest in Rabat, Reuters
Although Morocco and neighboring Europe have been in recent talks on a comprehensive free-trade agreement, relations with the constitutional monarchy have been uneasy as well. On March 6, 2013, a European Parliament delegation en route to the disputed territory of Western Sahara was refused entry at the airport in Casablanca.
The approximation and location of Morocco make the stability of its’ government of key importance to the security of Europe. The diffusion effects of the Arab Spring are still being seen in the protests which play out today. A lack of change within the regime to address the demands of the protestors will lead to increased tensions between the Moroccan people and ties with Europe and the west.