News / Africa

Demonstrations Expected in Morocco

Morocco's King Mohammed (R), shown here as he prepared to address the nation on June 17, 2011, is under pressure to guarantee a greater separation of power in the kingdom
Morocco's King Mohammed (R), shown here as he prepared to address the nation on June 17, 2011, is under pressure to guarantee a greater separation of power in the kingdom

Demonstrations are expected in Morocco Sunday, after a pro-reform group said King Mohammed's new plan to limit his power does not go far enough.

The country's youth-based February 20 Movement called Saturday for nationwide protests, criticizing the monarch's reform proposal for not meeting "demands for a true separation of powers." The February 20 Movement - named for the date its demonstrations began - said it would "protest peacefully."

On Friday, King Mohammed promised changes that would limit his power through a series of constitutional amendments.

The king announced the proposal in a televised address. Moroccans will be able to vote next month in a referendum on the changes, which would strengthen the office of prime minister and the parliament. The king would choose the prime minister from the party that won elections and would retain exclusive control in religious and military matters.

The speech was met with cheers, honks and flag-waving from Moroccans driving through the streets of the capital, Rabat.

The king's speech comes in response to nationwide pro-reform demonstrations in recent months inspired by popular uprisings sweeping the Arab world. Protesters have been demanding improved civil rights and an end to corruption.  

The proposals were crafted by a reform panel appointed by the king in March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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