Could you explain the Moroccan political exception within the Arab spring?
It’s important to go back in History since the country was founded twelve centuries ago. Morocco was never part of the Ottoman Empire, and has been independent since the time of the first Sultan, a descendant of the Prophet. The French protectorate in Morocco didn’t affect the country the way colonisation affected our neighbors. Moreover, our country has been able to remain stable against various waves that have affected other neighbouring countries in recent history, such as pan-Arabism, socialism, military dictatorships and Islamism.
When the Arab spring started, the people took to the streets with moderation calling for more democracy and social justice, but not asking for regime change. HM King Mohammed VI is loved by the people. He responded to their calls with an important announcement of significant changes to the Moroccan Constitution and the distribution of powers. The Moroccan people endorsed the new Constitution, new elections were organised and the main opposition party won the highest number of seats in Parliament. The results were not contested and the people got a sense of confidence that their voice was being heard. The main challenge today is to undertake the necessary reforms to implement the Constitution and carry out the Government’s program commitments.
What is the essential significance of these reforms?
The new constitution gives the Head of Government, formerly the Prime Minister, more power and more responsibility in this regard. From the beginning, we have launched a national dialogue over the reform of justice, to strengthen its independence and to improve its speed and quality. Another challenge is for us to fight against corruption, which has been deeply rooted within the system for decades. We have also resumed deductions on striking workers’ wages in order to get the system back in motion and people back to work.
What is your priority at the helm of this Government?
A major aim is the reform of the government’s subsidy fund for energy and basic goods (Caisse de Compensation) which absorbs one quarter of the State’s revenues or more than 6% of GDP. We would like to re-channel part of these funds towards the less privileged. We are also working on putting order in our schools and hospitals and in public service in general. These actions are part of an overall government roadmap of reforms for the benefit of Moroccan people and Morocco’s stability, investment appeal and prosperity.