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Analysis: Morocco will be spared revolts sweeping other MENA countries

Morocco will be spared mass demonstrations sweeping other Middle Eastern and North African nations as long as the

Bolder and speedier reforms

Analysts stress Morocco has to embark on bolder, speedier reforms to fulfill Moroccans’ demands.

 

By Saad Guerraoui - LONDON

 government implements faster and bolder reforms, said Moroccan analysts amid growing speculations among the Western media that the snowball of uprisings could reach the kingdom.

Several thousand people rallied in Moroccan cities last Sunday demanding political reform and limits on the powers of King Mohammed VI.

Mohamed El Masloumi, Professor in the University of Law and Economics in Mohammedia, told Middle East Online that the Moroccan monarchy has a historic legitimacy and that is one of the oldest monarchies in the world.

“Morocco cannot be compared with Bahrain,” whose leader Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa declared himself a king in 2002, said Masloumi, adding that the red lines will not reach the Moroccan monarchy.

However, the government is urged to implement faster and bolder reforms than planned in the face of the protests.

Masloumi stressed that King Mohammed VI should implement radical political reforms, including “giving more powers to the Prime Minister, who should be selected from the party with the parliamentary majority.”

Ahead of last Sunday’s protest, Morocco promised to inject 1.4 billion Euros in subsidies to soften price hikes for staples -- a key factor among others including rampant unemployment behind the spreading unrest in the Arab World.

The subsidy will have an impact on the economy as the amount of investments for 2011 will go down, which consequently will affect the creation of new jobs.

Another analyst, who spoke to Middle East Online on condition of anonymity, said Morocco “will be spared the unrest that has gripped the Arab World as long as there genuine reforms that can be felt across every spectrum.”

He also stressed that the implementation of bolder reforms will be hard to achieve in the short term due to the soaring prices of commodities, including oil. This fact should be made clear to the public so that no disappointment would lead to further protests.

Morocco, which has the second largest non-oil GDP behind Egypt in 2010, is a net energy importer.

The decade that followed King Mohammed's ascending to power, massive development projects were launched in Morocco, a fact that even critics of the regime accept.

 

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