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2011 Moroccan constitutional referendum

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A referendum on constitutional reforms was held in Morocco on 1 July 2011. It was called in response to a series of protests across Morocco that began on 20 February 2011 when over ten thousand Moroccans participated in demonstrations demanding democratic reforms. A commission was to draft proposals by June 2011.[1] A draft released on 17 June foresaw the following changes:[2][3][4]

The changes were reportedly approved by 98.49% of voters. Despite protest movements calling for a boycott of the referendum, government officials claimed turnout was 72.65%.[5][6]

Following the referendum, early parliamentary elections were held on 25 November 2011.



The set of political reforms approved consisted of the following:[7]

  • The Amazigh language[8] is an official state language along with Arabic.[9]
  • The state preserves and protects the Hassānīya language and all the linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation.[9]
  • The king has the obligation to appoint a prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections. Previously, he could nominate a technocrat in this position if no party has a decisive advantage over the other parties in terms of the number of seats in the parliament.[5][10][11]
  • The king is no longer "sacred" but the "integrity of his person" is "inviolable".[12]
Placard for "yes" in Moroccan referendum on constitution change of 1st of July 2011 (decided as a reaction to protests of Arab spring), still present on July 3 (it should have been removed on 30 of June). The "yes" is associated with a picture of King Mohammed VI who announced he would vote for the new constitution. The add is supported by inhabitants of the old Portuguese district of El Jadida.
  • High administrative and diplomatic posts (including ambassadors, CEOs of state-owned companies, provincial and regional governors), are now appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the ministerial council which is presided by the king, previously the latter exclusively held this power.[13][14]
  • The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.[15]
  • The prime minister will preside over the council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.[15]
  • The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king.[16]
  • The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees this independence.[15][17]
  • Women are guaranteed "civic and social" equality with men. Previously, only "political" equality was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights and before the law.[11]
  • The King would retain complete control of the armed forces, foreign policy, the judiciary; and matters pertaining to religion, and would also retain authority for choosing and dismissing prime ministers[18]
  • All citizens have the freedom of: thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation. Previously only free-speech and the freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed.[11][19]


Moroccan constitutional referendum, 2011[20]
Choice Votes %
  Yes 9,653,492 98.50
No 146,718 1.50
Valid votes 9,800,210 99.17
Invalid or blank votes 81,712 0.83
Total votes 9,881,922 100.00
Registered voters and turnout 13,451,404 73.46


  1. ^ "Morocco to vote on new constitution". Google News. AFP. 9 March 2011. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012.
  2. ^ "König will Teil seiner Macht abgeben" [King wants to give up part of his power]. Der Standard (in German). APA. 18 June 2011.
  3. ^ "Moroccan Islamists 'could reject constitution'". Google News. AFP. 13 June 2011. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012.
  4. ^ Karam, Souhail (17 June 2011). "Morocco King to lose some powers, remain key figure". Reuters. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Morocco approves King Mohammed's constitutional reforms". BBC News. 2 July 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  6. ^ "Moroccans approve new constitution by sweeping majority". People's Daily Online. Xinhua. 2 July 2011. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Q&A: Morocco's referendum on reform". BBC News. 29 June 2011.
  8. ^ A standardized version of the 3 native Berber languages of Morocco: Tachelhit, Central Atlas Tamazight and Tarifit.
  9. ^ a b Article 5 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  10. ^ Article 47 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  11. ^ a b c 1996 Moroccan constitution
  12. ^ Article 46 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  13. ^ Article 91 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  14. ^ Article 49 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  15. ^ a b c AFP. "Maroc: la réforme constitutionnelle préconise de limiter certains pouvoirs du roi". Parisien. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  16. ^ Article 71 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  17. ^ Article 107 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  18. ^ "Moroccan King Calls for Prompt Parliamentary Elections". Voice of America. 30 July 2011.
  19. ^ Driss Bennani, Mohammed Boudarham and Fahd Iraqi. "nouvelle constitution. plus roi que jamais". Telquel. Archived from the original on 26 June 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Morocco: Referendum Results". Morocco Board News Service. 3 July 2011. Archived from the original on 29 July 2011.

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