- Title: MOROCCO: Initial results show Morocco has adopted new constitution
- Date: 3rd July 2011
- Summary: RABAT, MOROCCO (JULY 1, 2011) (REUTERS) ***CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** WIDE OF THE INTERIOR MINISTRY CLOSE UP OF A PLAQUE IN ARABIC SAYING "INTERIOR MINISTRY" THE MOROCCAN INTERIOR MINISTER TAIB CHERKAOUI BEHIND A GROUP OF CAMERAMEN AND PHOTOGRAPHERS THE CAMERAMEN AND PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE THE INTERIOR MINISTER TAIB CHERKAOUI BEHIND CAMERAMEN A GROUP OF JOURNALISTS AND OFFICIALS FROM THE INTERIOR MINISTRY FOLLOWING THE PRESS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TAIB CHERKAOUI , MOROCCAN INTERIOR MINISTER, SAYING: "The number of voters was 9,228020. The participation rate was 72.65 per cent. Void bulletins: 76,917, which means 0.83 per cent. Out of the expressed votes, the YES vote was 98.49 per cent while the NO vote managed 1.51 per cent. It is worth saying that these results represent only 94 per cent of all the polling stations in all Morocco. These results will stay temporary because the Constitutional Council is the institution that should legally announce the final and official results for the referendum on the constitution."
- Embargoed: 18th July 2011 09:24
- Location: Morocco, Morocco
- Country: Morocco
- Topics: Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9G02HCD7L12OT31FY7L1WQIUO
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: After over 90 percent of the vote counted, Moroccan have adopted the new constitution with an overwhelming 98.49 percent voting Yes.
Morocco's King Mohammed scored a landslide victory in a referendum on a reformed constitution he proposed to placate "Arab Spring" protests as voters defied critics who said it did little to curb his powers.
Preliminary results of Friday's (July 1) poll showed 98.5 percent of voters approved the text, Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui declared on state media, citing returns from 94 percent of polling booths. Final results could take several days.
The charter explicitly grants executive powers to the government but retains the king at the helm of the cabinet, army, religious authorities and the judiciary.
With a turnout put at nearly 73 percent, the result will be seen as a vote of confidence in the leader of the Arab world's longest-serving dynasty. It will be closely scrutinised by Gulf Arab monarchies who have so far dodged domestic reform calls.
Some questioning why only 13 million voters were registered to vote from a total of nearly 20 million Moroccans of voting age, and disputing the high turnout.
Fathallah Arsalane of the Justice and Spirituality Islamist group, banned by the authorities but the largest organised opposition to the king said the turnout figures were rigged. .
The new constitution preserves a range of privileges for the king, such as dissolving parliament -- although not unilaterally as is the case now -- and making key public appointments.
It falls far short of the demands of the protest movement, a mix of Islamists and secular left-wingers who want a parliamentary monarchy where powers of the king and a secretive court elite would be kept in check by elected lawmakers.
The movement has failed to attract the mass support of popular uprisings that toppled the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, and the fact that many Moroccans snubbed its call to boycott the vote could be a further blow to its credibility.
A staunch Western ally, Morocco has stepped up cooperation against terrorism and illegal migration, notably with the European Union which is keen to avoid the spread of Islamic militancy along its southern shores.
The 47-year-old king has had some success in repairing the legacy of human right abuses, high illiteracy and poverty he inherited after his late father's 38-year rule ended in 1999.
Yet critics say there remains a wide disparity between rich and poor, and complain of human rights and rule of law failings.
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