Morocco is a hereditary monarchy, governed under a constitution promulgated in 1996. Replacing an amended 1972 constitution, the 1996 constitution is nominally more democratic. Under the 1972 constitution, one-third of the members of parliament were indirectly elected, and tended to support the wishes of the monarchy. This existing legislative body was reorganized by the 1996 constitution to become entirely popularly elected. The new constitution also created a second, indirectly elected “advisory” legislative body, however, effectively ensuring the supremacy of the king.
TThe monarch, who, according to the constitution, must be male, is the head of state of Morocco. He appoints the prime minister and cabinet. He also has the power to call for a reconsideration of legislative measures and to dissolve the legislature. The monarch is commander in chief of the country’s armed forces.
Under the 1996 constitution, Morocco’s legislature changed from a unicameral house to a bicameral one. The new legislature consists of a 325-member Chamber of Representatives and a 270-member Chamber of Advisers. Members of the Chamber of Representatives are directly elected by universal suffrage to five-year terms. Members of the Chamber of Advisers serve nine-year terms; 60 percent are indirectly elected by local councils, and the remaining 40 percent are selected by representatives of business associations and trade unions.
The Chamber of Advisers may initiate legislation on equal footing with the Chamber of Representatives, but the former has the potential decisive advantage of being able to dissolve the government with a two-thirds majority vote. The first elections for these legislative bodies were held in 1997.
Morocco has a multiparty political system. Most parties are aligned in three major groupings: centrist parties, such as the Popular Movement (MP) and the National Rally of Independents (RNI); leftist parties, such as the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP); and center-right parties, such as the secular Istiqlal (Independence) Party and the moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) "Morocco" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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