Social Problems in Morocco

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Since independence, 45 years ago, Morocco has been going through many social problems, mostly in education and health system. The former French colonial system left a advanced industrial sector, a good planned irrigation system, and an effective transportation network. However, the departure of the colonial administration had left the country without an functional political system from which a modern government and democracy could be established. (Focus on Morocco, 1998) Through these problems Morocco is going on its way to a modern state with a modern democratic government and democracy.

Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah, Arabic name of the Kingdom of Morocco, is a democratic constitutional monarchy. It bounded on the north by the Mediterranean Sea, on the east and southeast by Algeria, on the south by Western Sahara, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Morocco has occupied the bordering region Western Sahara. The area of Morocco is about 446,550 sq. km and has about 30 million of citizens. About 99. 1 % of citizens are Arab-Berber and mostly used religion is Muslim – 98. 7 %. Political System

The present monarch, King Mohamed VI, is a member of the Alouite dynasty, which has governed Morocco for the last 300 years. He delegated a Prime Minister, a Cabinet, promulgates the laws and is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. (Focus on Morocco, 1998) Moroccan constitution, created in 1972, was revised in 1992, and finally amended in 1996 to create a bicameral legislature. A bicameral parliament consists of an upper chamber or the Chamber of Counselors (270 seats) and a lower house or the Chamber of Representatives (325 seats).

Sixty percent of the members of the Chamber of Counselors are elected indirectly by local councils, and the other forty percent are selected by the professional organizations and labor syndicates for nine-year term; one-third of the member are renewed every three years. On the other hand, the members of Chamber of Representatives are elected directly by popular vote for five-year terms. Another constitutional institution, the cabinet, is responsible to the King and the Chamber of Representatives. Morocco has a multiparty political system with parties from all political spectrum.

It is divided into 16 administrative regions, which are subdivided into 65 provinces and prefectures. The members of regional councils that administrated regions are elected either by communal councils or chosen by the minister of the interior. The provinces and prefectures are further divided into 1500 urban and rural communes. (Morocco, 1999) In according to Focus the judiciary authority is independent from the legislative and the executive branches, however, the judges are nominated by the King upon the proposal of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.

The highest court is the Supreme Court and here are also 15 courts of appeal. The local tribunals decides the cases including small sums of money, regional tribunals the more important cases. Furthermore, the country has 14 labor tribunals. Legal system is based on Islamic law and French and Spanish law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court. (CIA – The world factbook, 2000) In according to Focus, the Kingdom of Morocco is a democratic and constitutional monarchy. Moroccan political system has many signs that can be regarded as a democratic.

However, Morocco is only on the way to democracy how it known in the developed western countries. Although Morocco has modern constitution that guarantees the freedom of movement, equal rights to education and to employment, multiple political parties, the rights to strike, and the respect of human rights, the official head of Morocco is still the monarch that is untouchable. The monarch governs the country and influences all branches of the government. The revised constitution created the second legislative body, The Chamber of Counselors, however, this second chamber in mostly used to ensuring the supremacy of the king.

(Morocco, 1999) Both chambers of the Parliament have very similar legislative rights, the only advantage of Chamber of Representatives is that it can dissolve the government with a two-thirds majority vote. However, the government is formed by the king, so although the first chamber dissolves the government, the king can formed a new one. Both chamber are able to create the laws, but the king has to promulgates them. The judiciary branch is independent from the legislative and the executive branches, however, the king has to nominate the judges that create small independence to the king.

In addition, the king through his large influence is very unstable element on Moroccan political scene. There is possible danger when there will be a new king with a different view on the democracy. Through his legality, the king can change the political situation to his conceptions. Moroccan political system can be more democratic when there will less influences from the king on it, and when all department of the government will be formed by election and political parties.

Moreover, the Moroccan political system can more stable and democratic when all of the legislative, executive, and judiciary department of government will be more divided because the Prime minister, Cabinet of Ministers, Chamber of Counselors, and judiciary department is very close to the king. The main reason why is the Morocco developing country is that Morocco and Moroccan political system was always under someone’s control, either under France or Spain or under the king. Morocco has never had some democratic history and from this originated the small belief of democracy.

Because the first constitution was formed only in 1972 and the first democratic constitution, if we can call it democratic, with the common human rights was formed in 1996, Morocco has a long journey to real democracy in front. Another problem that has Morocco is its unresolved southern boundaries. Moroccan government does not accept the Spain control over five parts of Morocco, Ceuta, Melilla, and three islands, and the guerrilla’s control over Western Sahara. (Morocco, 1999) Although Morocco has young constitution, last changes signals the will of Moroccans to change their political system to more democratic one.

So, Moroccans has to learn to live in democracy, the ideas about democracy. In addition, Morocco has to solve their boundaries problems because any war conflict is very unstable element that affect whole state. Economy Morocco confronts with the economical problems typical of developing countries – low industry, small private activity and foreign trade, large debt. Morocco is largely an agricultural country with 50 percent of all workers in agriculture. Moroccan’s industry consists mostly of small-scale enterprises. There are working only 15 percent of all workers in industry.

(CIA – The word factbook, 2000) Good development is in mining, Morocco is a leading producer of phosphate rock, other minerals produced are coal, iron ore, lead, and manganese ore. Production of electricity is mostly generated by thermal plants, however, Morocco is planned to construct solar and nuclear power plants. (Focus on Morocco, 1998) Another source of energy can be from gas, the gas pipeline is planned to link Algeria with Spain through Morocco. Morocco has large deficit in export when import consists of 9. 5 billion US$ and export is 7. 1 US$.

Furthermore, transportation is not in good conditions when 47 percent of all roads are hard-surfaced. (Morocco, 1999) Moroccan’s economy can be improved by constructing more kinds of industry and it will also improve the numbers of export and import. Also the transportation has to be improved, Morocco has large port facilities that can be used for distribution of good over north and west Africa. Another problem is in unions, only 20 percent of all workers are in labor union that can improve their work positions. Although Morocco is improving its economical situation, the main product of export, phosphate rock, is not infinite.

In addition, the growth of industry is small because Morocco has to first train the specialist for the new industries. Next, Morocco has to open its trade for foreign investors, but it need to improve and more stabilize political situation. Improving of transportation facilities can cost a lot of money that can affect through increasing the national debt to negative development of whole economy. There is also problem in agriculture, only 20 % of the country is cultivated and when major part of Morocco consists of rocky and sand surface, cultivation of other part of Morocco will cost a large number of money.

When Morocco wants to improve its economy and growth of industry, it has to train specialist for the industry. However, the Moroccan’s system of education has to be improve firstly. The literacy of total population is only 43. 7 percent, so if Moroccans wants to train specialist for their industry, the literacy has to be improved. Another improvement can be in increasing business exchange among Morocco, France, Spain. Moroccans has large advantage in communication when mostly their second language is either French or Spanish.

In addition, Morocco has close relationships with these countries, so there can be found improvement. Social system The Morocco has big advantages in its homogeneous community. 99. 1 percent of ethnic groups are Arab-Berbers, and also in religion is community very homogeneous; 98. 7 percents of all Moroccans are Muslims. (CIA – The world factbook, 2000) There are no signs of ethnic or religion intolerance. The main problem is in dividing of community in elite. The king and his royal family has privileged position in society.

As it was mentions the solution can be the change of political system from constitutional monarchy to republic with all human rights to all people. Next problem is in the southern part of Morocco and in Western Sahara. There are operating guerrillas of the Polisario Front, a Saharan nationalist guerrilla movement, that wants to establish an independent state called the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. (Morocco, 1999) So, the situation in Western Sahara has to be improved because it affect all factors of society such as political stability, foreign investments.

Another problem is in education and heath care. As it was mentioned the literacy percentage is 43. 7 and less than 40 percent of secondary-school-age Moroccans attend secondary school. The situation in health care in similar, although the health services are adequately well developed in cities, health care in other districts is poor. (Morocco, 1999) The resolving of problems in Western Sahara can take a long time. Since 1974 there are frequent conflicts between Moroccan’s army and the Polisario Front.

United Nations wanted to solve this problem through the self-determination referendum, however, the referendum was repeatedly postponed because of voter eligibility. (Morocco, 1999) The problem in education and health care can be solved hardly because some districts of Morocco are very backward and also some communities such as Berber nomads does not want to change their life style. Finally, Morocco, as a developing country, has a good chance to change their political system to more democratic one through continuing in changes of political system.

Also in economy Morocco has large reserves, but it has to improve its political system firstly and then there can come foreign investors that need stable situation. The improvement of social system has a long journey ahead because of elder traditions.

References

  • Focus on Morocco. (1998). Focus Multimedia. URL [2000, November 20]
  • Morocco. (1999). In Encarta encyclopedia (Version 99). [CD ROM].
  • Microsoft Corporation. Morocco. (2000). CIA – The world factbook. URL [2000, November 20]

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