Morocco’s New Constitution Could Be Model for Arab World
Posted Jul 5, 2011 8:50 AM CST
By Molly McDonough
Morocco's recently approved constitution—granting new rights to women and minorities—is being praised by foreign policy experts hopeful that reforms could be a model for Arab monarchies facing uprisings.
The reforms, proposed by King Mohammed VI, were approved by 98 percent of Moroccans who voted Friday. They give more power to the elected parliament and establish an independent judiciary, but leave to the king control over matters of foreign policy and religion, USA Today reports.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former president George W. Bush, tells the publication that Arab monarchies are watching Morocco closely.
Whether the changes are "cosmetic or something more significant" remains to be seen, Bolton says.
When Mohammed announced the changes last month, many viewed them as an attempt to end the "Arab Spring" street protests gaining in popularity in the region, according to Jurist Paper Chase. Before the king's announcement, Jurist notes that thousands of protesters engaged in peaceful demonstrations, demanding constitutional reform and an end to corruption.