[QODLink]
Africa
Moroccan monarch pledges reform
King Mohammed VI says changes will be made to the constitution to improve democracy and the rule of law.
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2011 21:29 GMT
Thousands of protesters demonstrated in several cities on February 20 demanding political reform and limits on the king's powers [EPA]

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has announced changes will be made to the kingdom's constitution aimed at improving democracy and the rule of law in the North African country.

"We have decided to undertake a comprehensive constitutional reform," King Mohammed said in a televised address on Wednesday, underlining his "firm commitment to giving a strong impetus to the dynamic and deep reforms... taking place".

The monarch announced the formation of a commission to work on the constitutional revisions, with proposals to be made to him by June.

A referendum would be held on the draft constitution, he said.

He also pledged that future parliamentary elections will be free and that the head of the winning party will form the new government.

The live broadcast was the first time the king has delivered an address to the nation since thousands of people demonstrated in several cities on February 20 demanding political reform and limits on his powers.

Six people were killed in unrest that erupted after the demonstrations, including five found burned to death in a bank set ablaze by people whom officials labelled vandals.

Another 128, including 115 members of the security forces, were wounded in the violence and 120 people were arrested, the interior ministry said.

Dozens of vehicles and buildings were also damaged or set alight.

There have been other peaceful rallies since then, including in the capital Rabat and the country's biggest city Casablanca, with young activists campaigning for greater democracy using the Facebook social network to call for
new demonstrations on March 20.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
Teenage phenom with quick hands and a passion for boxing has reminded many of the great Filipino fighter at a young age.
Families of Britons killed in 2013 siege at gas plant in Algeria frustrated by inquiry delay over 'sensitive' materials.
Rhinoceros beetles once drew 40,000 visitors each year to Tamura city, but nuclear disaster has decimated beetle mania.
In run-up to US midterm elections, backers of immigration law changes disappointed by postponement of executive action.
join our mailing list