Moroccans overwhelmingly approve new constitution

Moroccans have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution their king says will bring the country much-needed democratic reform.

Rabat(Morocco): Moroccans have overwhelmingly
approved a new constitution their king says will bring the
country much-needed democratic reform, the Interior Ministry
announced.

The 98.94 per cent approval rating and 72.56 per cent
turnout appeared to indicate strong belief by Moroccans in the
king`s promises of reform just months after hundreds of
thousands marched throughout the North African country calling
for more democracy.
The huge turnout yesterday announced by the government
was in stark contrast to the 37 per cent that voted in 2007
parliamentary elections, and evoked some scepticism among
pro-democracy activists.

"Now we have become a banana monarchy," said Elaabadila
Chbihna of the pro-democracy February 20 movement, whose
demonstrations over past months sparked the King Mohammed VI`s
decision to amend the constitution. "I am very skeptically, by
2 p.m. very few people had been to the polling stations."
The amended constitution gives more power to the
parliament and the prime minister and guarantees the
independence of the judiciary, while still leaving control in
the hands of the king.

The February 20 movement had called for a boycott, saying
the new constitution was drawn up without consulting the
public and left too much power in the king`s hands.

Bureau Report

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