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Moroccans vote on King's offer of reform

Abdelhak Senna / AFP - Getty Images

A Moroccan woman casts her vote in a polling station on July 1 in Sale, near Rabat, in a referendum on curbing the near absolute powers of King Mohammed VI, who has offered reforms in the wake of protests inspired by pro-democracy uprisings around the Arab world. Faced with demonstrations modelled on the Arab Spring protests, Mohammed VI announced the referendum last month to devolve some of his powers to the prime minister and parliament of the north African country.

Reuters reports from RABAT:

Moroccans voted on Friday in a referendum on a revised constitution offered by King Mohammed to placate "Arab Spring" street protesters, with the "yes" camp tipped to win despite boycott calls by opponents.

The new charter explicitly grants the government executive powers, but retains the king at the helm of the army, religious authorities and the judiciary and still allows him to dissolve parliament, though not unilaterally as is the case now.

That falls far short of the demands of the "February 20" protest movement, which wants a parliamentary monarchy where the king's powers would be kept in check by elected lawmakers. Continue reading.