Working Sessions: The King’s Executive Presence

Working Sessions: The King’s Executive Presence

Abderrahmane ALLALAbderrahmane ALLAL17 July 2020102min3240
Working Sessions: The King's Executive Presence
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 Introduction

Constitutional practice in Morocco is defined by a clear traditional character. The constitutional pattern with its political manifestations tends to combine the documented and the customary, politics and religion, as well as modernity and heritage. It does not disconnect with, nor neglect neither side; rather, it provides to each of them reasons to dive into the depth of the constitutional text.

In Morocco, constitutional norms find their way through written documents which usually contain cloudy and obscure implications and lay the foundation for political practices that take the implicit essence of Constitution as reference.

The 2011 Constitution has defined the boundaries between the duties of the Head of State and the competencies of the head of government. Further, it distinguished the general state policy, which is in the hand of the King, and public policies which are prerogatives of the Head of Government. The Ministerial Council and the Governmental Council have become places for deliberating on a set of texts and issues. However, this practice has produced one of the emerging norms in the 2011 Constitution, and that is the working sessions that the King presides over from time to time, at a rate that may increase or decrease. In recent years, these working sessions have been adopted as a form of communication between the King and the rest of the authorities and constitutional institutions, setting policies, alerting and inquiring officials, and imposing binding decisions on public authorities.

The working sessions reflect the intense presence of the King as head of the dual executive branch. In this sense, the working sessions constitute an opportunity to examine the details of the major milestones of the State’s public policies in their strategic dimension that is linked to structuring sectors of the national economy and the creation of wealth. Further, they are also an occasion to discuss current and emerging issues, in a way that reflects the absolute presence of the State in each detail of public decisions –and tangibly indicates that the State is the sole bearer of the responsibility to rule upon major issues of the Kingdom.

This paper discusses the general aspects that distinguish the working sessions, by reviewing the increasing frequency of these sessions and the nature of attendees, especially the absence of the Head of Government at times and the attendance of the King’s advisors. It takes into consideration the issues on its agenda, and the economic, political and social stakes of the matters debated in their announced sessions. These sessions raise many observations regarding their relation to public policies and government mandate.

 

The Increasing Frequency of the Sessions

The frequency of working sessions was slow during the first four years after the promulgation of the reformed Constitution (2011-2014), as the King chaired the first working session (September 22, 2011) a few weeks after the 2011 Constitution entered into force.[1]They were carried out at a rate of one working session during the years: 2011, 2012, 2013 2014, covering different topics and issues. Specifically, the first and fourth sessions were devoted to the renewable energy sector, the second session was related to “the Inappropriate Behaviors Related to Bribery and the Maltreatment Committed by a Number of Security Personnel Working in a Number of Border Posts of the Kingdom”, while the third session discussed the problematic of immigration, due to Morocco’s shift from a transit country to a country of residence for migrants and asylum-seekers, which resulted in the development of the National Strategy on Immigration and Asylum.

The first years of the working sessions were characterized by slowness and stability. However, as shown in the curve (Figure 1) this frequency increased starting from 2015, when there were three working sessions in 2015: the sixth and seventh sessions were devoted to the energy sector, whereas the fifth session was devoted to “Presenting and Studying the Work Plan Related to Implementing the Agreements Signed with PSA Peugeot- Citroën. ”

The two working sessions (eighth and ninth) organized in 2016 were devoted again to the energy sector, including the discussion on the gas pipeline project linking Nigeria and Morocco – which is of a strategic nature due to its close connection to the Sahara question. Thus, 2015 and 2016 have been the framework of a total of five working sessions, exceeding the number of sessions that took place during the first four years. As it was allocated six out of nine sessions during the first six years, the notable presence of the subject of energy in the agenda reflects the great importance of the energy sector in the royal agenda.

 

Figure 1: Variable numbers of sessions according to the index of (September 2011 – March 2020)

 

While examining the curve shown in Figure 1, it is striking that no working session was held in 2017, although this year was marked by a stable frequency of Ministerial Councils chaired by the King.[2] During one of these meetings in 2017, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development made a presentation on “The National Strategy Project on Sustainable Development 2030”.[3]

After a one-year interruption in 2017, the working sessions resumed with an increasing frequency, as 2018 witnessed the largest number of sessions during the period in consideration (September 2011 – March 2020). A total of five sessions were organized, devoted to two main topics: three working sessions to follow up and decide upon the topic of renewable energy; whereas the second topic was related to vocational training, which has become the focus of royal working sessions as the new approach of the State to find solutions to the problem of youth unemployment with the help of vocational training.

During 2019, the frequency of working sessions declined again, with the King presiding only two working sessions. The first one aimed to complete the study of vocational training, while the second was devoted to a topic that also relates to the strategic management of the State, namely the issue of water scarcity.[4]Indeed, the problem of water was discussed during the session held on April 18, 2019.[5] The working sessions in the beginning of 2020 were opened by the aforementioned topic, by allocating a session on January 7, 2020 to the National Priority Program for Drinking and Irrigation Water 2020-2027, while the remaining two working sessions were devoted to the management of Covid-19 situation.

 

The Nature of Attendees to the Working Sessions

The working sessions chaired by the King are attended by a number of officials of various grades, namely the Head of Government[6], the ministers[7], and heads of public institutions or secretary-generals[8] in a ministerial sector, depending on the different nature of issues included in the working sessions’ agenda. This section focuses on discussing the presence of the Head of Government and the King’s advisors.

 

  • Attendance and absence of the Head of Government

The 2011 Constitution is based on several dichotomies, among which: The Ministerial Council and the Council of Government, law and regulations, the King as the Commander of the Faithful and the King of the State, voting as a right and as a duty, appointment to the Ministerial Council and appointment to the Council of Government, draft laws and law proposals. Among the other dichotomies governing the constitutional document, we find promulgation of general policy at times and of public policies at other time; in reference to the distribution of competences between the King and the Head of Government as heads of the executive branch.If the Constitution has explicitly set the boundaries between the King’s competencies and those of the Head of Government, then the working sessions, as one of the most prominent manifestations of the implicit essence of the Constitution, have strengthened the executive presence of the King. They provided him with a general jurisdiction to prepare, keep track, carry out, and evaluate a number of plans, programs, and strategies that relate to the general political orientation of the State – keeping in mind the premise that making a distinction between general state policy and public policies is actually disentanglement of the relation between the King and the Head of the Government.

The detailed reading of the constitutional document allows reflecting on the nature of the “questions and texts”[9] that are deliberated by both the Ministerial Council and the Council of Government. Indeed, the preparatory nature of the Council of Government meetings in relation to those of the Ministerial Council is evident, and this is visible through the wording used in the body of Article 92 of the Constitution: ” Before submitting it to the Ministerial Council”, “without prejudice to the provisions in Article 49 of this Constitution,” “referred to in Article 49 of this Constitution”.

Table 1: Questions and issues on which both the Ministerial Council and the Council of Government deliberate[10]

Questions and texts on which the Ministerial Council deliberates Questions and texts on which the Council of Government deliberates
Strategic orientations of state policy; The State’s general policy before being presented to the Ministerial Council;
Constitution revision projects; Public policies;
Draft organic acts; Sectoral policies;
General orientations of the draft finance act; Draft laws, including the draft finance act, before depositing them into the House of Representatives office, without prejudice to the provisions in Article 49 of this Constitution;
Draft framework-law referred to in Article 71 (second paragraph) of this Constitution; Decree-laws;
The appointments are made based on a proposal by the Head of Government and on the initiative of the concerned minister, in the following civilian posts: The Governor of Bank Al-Maghrib, the ambassadors, governors, and workers, and those responsible for the departments for internal security, and those responsible for public institutions and strategic public enterprises. An organic law defines these institutions and strategic enterprises; Assigning General Secretaries, directors of central departments in public administrations, university presidents and deans, and directors of schools and higher institutions. The organic law referred to in Article 49 of this Constitution may complete the list of posts in which appointments are made in the Council of Government. This organic law defines, in particular, the principles and criteria for appointment to these positions, especially the principles of equal opportunity, eligibility, efficiency and transparency;

Concretely, the general state policy may be defined as “the general political perception that is carried out through government resolutions to confront managerial constraints or address social problems.”[11] As for public policies, they refer to “the total set of strategic measures and proceedings of a managerial and developmental dimension”,[12]in which the comprehensive general state policy of the State is concluded. Public policies are only one of its branches, given that the general State policy remains constant during the five-year government mandate.[13]This is deduced from the Articles 49 and 92 of the Constitution, which establish a division between the King who exercises his powers as Head of State and is entrusted with the strategic time management of the State[14], and the Head of Government is responsible of assuring the regular functioning of State, issuing resolutions in accordance with his exercise of regulatory power authority as stipulated in the first paragraph of Article 90, and ensuring the implementation of the law while properly carrying out the government program.[15]

Out of 19 working sessions, the Head of Government was absent twice, as Prime Minister[16] Abbas El Fassi[17] did not attend the first working session on the progress of the integrated programs on renewable energies (mainly solar and wind power) held on September 22nd, 2011, while Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane[18] did not attend the second working session on inappropriate behaviors related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in a number of border posts of the Kingdom, held on August 9th, 2012. The absence of Benkirane made some people think that the decisions taken in the aforementioned working session are directly reflected on the “duplication of the chairmanship of the executive power, which entails: duplication of the source of instructions (the King and the Head of Government) and the possibility of issuing conflicting and contradictory instructions, bearing in mind that legal and political responsibility is borne by the Head of Government.”[19]

 

B- Attendance of Advisors: The King’s Shadow

The current Head of State is surrounded by a number of advisors, part of whom worked alongside his father, the late King Hassan II, and another part shared classes with him in Al-Madrassa Al Maulawiya (Royal Academy). Plus, a third group of advisors became consultant to the Royal Court during various periods. The King’s advisors provide expertise and advice on a number of issues, based on their specialties and their closeness to the King. After the 2011 Constitution entry into force, they persisted in attending and participating in the works of the Ministerial Council.

The working sessions are marked by the participation of the King’s advisors. The first working session related to the progress of the integrated programs in the field of renewable energies (namely solar and wind power) on September 22nd, 2011 and was attended by Zoulikha Nasri[20] as an advisor of the King. She also attended the working session on the Moroccan renewable energy project “Nour” on March 17th, 2014. The same session was attended by Yassir Zenagui[21]for the first time as a royal advisor. Whereas the King’s advisors did not attend the working session on the inappropriate behavior related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in the borders of the Kingdom, on August 9th, 2012, and the working session on the National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020 – 2027, on January 7th, 2020, as well as the working session on the follow-up of controlling the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, on March 17th, 2020.The rest of the sessions were attended either by Fouad Ali El Himma[22] or Yassir Zenagui or both.  Whereas the working session on the issue of immigration was attended by Fadel Benyaich in his capacity as the person in charge of a mission in the Royal Court,[23]along with the Royal Advisor Fouad Ali El Himma. As for the three working sessions devoted to discussing the vocational training situation, Omar Azziman[24] attended as an advisor and President[25] of the Supreme Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research.[26]

 

Table 2: Attendance of the King’s advisors to the working sessions

Date of the working session Number of King’s advisors attending Theme of the working session
September 22nd, 2011 01 The progress of the integrated programs in the field of renewable energies, namely solar and wind power.
August 9th, 2012 00 Inappropriate behaviors related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in a number of border posts of the Kingdom.
September 10th, 2013 01 The issue of immigration.
March 17th, 2014 03 Progress of the Moroccan solar energy project “Nour”.
June 24th, 2015 01 Presenting and studying the work plan related to the implementation of the agreements signed with “PSA Peugeot – Citroen”.
October 13th, 2015 03 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies.
December 26th, 2015 02 Energy sector.
September 26th, 2016 02 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies.
December 13th, 2016 02 The gas pipeline project linking Nigeria and Morocco.
January 26th, 2018 02 Examining the progress of the implementation by MASEN (Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy) of the development of renewable energy programs of the Kingdom.
April 26th, 2018 01 Studying of the progress of renewable energy projects, supervised by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy.
October 1st, 2018 02 Work session devoted to upgrading the vocational training offer.
November 1st, 2018 02 Carrying out the renewable energy strategy.
November 29th, 2018 02 Follow-up on the issue of upgrading and modernizing the vocational training sector
February 28th, 2019 02 Program for the upgrading of vocational training offer and the renovation of options and pedagogical methods.
April 18th, 2019 01 The issue of water scarcity.
January 7th, 2020 00 The National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020-2027.
January 27th, 2020 01 The measures of the evacuation of a number of Moroccan citizens in the Chinese province of Wuhan.
March 17th, 2020 00 Monitoring the management of the spread of Corona virus.
The agenda of the working sessions: strategic and emerging issues

The analysis of the list of questions included in the agenda of the working sessions during the period September 2011 – March 2020 can be used to distinguish between two categories of topics and issues:

– Issues of a strategic nature: they concern mainly the issue of renewable energy. Indeed, this is evident when considering the number of sessions devoted to it, which constitutes 47% of the total topics studied in the working sessions, as illustrated in Figure (2). The sessions on renewable energies initially tackled the study of the progress of the integrated programs of renewable energy and then engaged in the study of the progress of the Moroccan solar energy project “Nour”. They dealt with the extent of the implementation of renewable energy development programs in the Kingdom by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) [27], as well as the evaluation of various stages of its completion, discussing the progress of renewable energy projects (which are also supervised by the MASEN and finally carrying out the renewable energies strategy.

 

Figure 2: Distribution of royal working session themes

 

The sector of renewable energies is, among other areas, at the forefront of the Royal agenda. Indeed, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy is classified as a strategic public enterprise by virtue of the Organic Law on the appointment of senior positions. It is also the sector in which the King has the exclusive prerogative for appointment, according to the provisions of Article 49 of the Constitution, which distinguishes between institutions and strategic public enterprises, and senior positions that are deliberated on during the Council of Government.[28]

Table 3: Energy sector working sessions

Date The working session theme
September 22nd, 2011 The progress of the integrated programs in the field of renewable energies, namely solar and wind power.
March 17th, 2014 Progress of the Moroccan solar energy project “Nour”.
October 13th, 2015 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies.
December 26th, 2015 Energy sector
September 26th, 2016 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies.
January 26th, 2018 Studying the progress of the implementation by MASEN (Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy) of the development of renewable energy programs of the Kingdom.
April 26th, 2018 Examining the progress of renewable energy projects, supervised by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy.
November 1st, 2018 Carrying out the renewable energy strategy.
December 13th, 2016 The gas pipeline project linking Nigeria and Morocco.

 

In addition to the energy sector, the issue of immigration is of strategic dimension in Morocco, which demanded allocating a working session on September 10th, 2013. After this session, the sector of immigration affairs was assigned to the ministry in charge of Moroccans residing abroad, starting from October 14th, 2013. One month later, the process to legalize the stay of foreigners residing illegally in Morocco was launched. On December 18th, 2014, the Council of Government ratified the National Strategy on Immigration and Asylum[29], which consists of 11 programs, comprising 27 goals, and 81 operations.

However, the interesting thing is the abandonment of the government sector explicitly in charge of immigration, following the government amendments in mid-October 2019. After the creation of the Ministry in Charge of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs[30] in 2013, and the Ministry Delegate of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in charge of Moroccans Residing abroad and Migration Affairs[31] in 2017, the regulatory Dahir of the government, as amended in 2019, does not mention this sector.[32]

Always in the context of topics of a strategic nature, and following the recurrence of a number of protest dynamics related to water scarcity, this theme became one of the top of social issues and compelled devoting two consecutive sessions to the issue: the first one on the problem of water scarcity, and the second on the National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020-2027. This program had a total financial cost of 115 billion dirhams, and mainly concerned:

– Developing the water supply, notably by building dams;

– Managing the demand and valuating water, especially in the agricultural sector; increasing the supply of potable water in rural areas;

– Reusing treated wastewater to irrigate green spaces;

– Communicating and sensitizing the general public in order to raise awareness of the importance of conserving water resources and rationalizing its use.[33]

 

Table 4: Working sessions on migration and water issues

Date The working session theme
September 10th, 2013 The issue of migration
April 18th, 2019 The issue of water
January 7th, 2020 National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020-2027

 

The Rif Movement[34] had a wide impact on the course of political and social events, as a result of the fact that one of the most prominent claims of the movement was demanding work that guarantees decent life conditions. After a series of policies of a social nature, the State aimed at revitalizing vocational training as a way to alleviate the problem of unemployment. For this purpose, officials were called on to three sessions, reaching 16% of the total topics covered in the working sessions. These sessions were concerned with the discussion of ways to upgrade the vocational training offer, to diversify and better appreciate professions, and to modernize options and pedagogical methods. These efforts culminated in the announcement of the roadmap on the development of vocational training and creating cities of trades and skills in each agency, dated April 4, 2019.[35]

In addition to vocational training, the State sought to diversify the means of solving the unemployment problem by focusing on the industrial sector. For this purpose, the King chaired a working session on presenting and studying the work plan of implementing the agreements signed with “PSA Peugeot – Citroën” on June 24th, 2015.

 

Table 5: Work sessions on vocational training and industry

Date The working session theme
October 1st, 2018 Upgrading the vocational training offer, diversifying and valuating professions, and modernizing pedagogical methods.
November 29th, 2018 Follow-up on the issue of upgrading and modernizing the vocational training sector.
February 28th, 2019 Program for the upgrading of vocational training offer and the renovation of options and pedagogical methods.
June 24th, 2015 Presenting and studying the work plan related to the implementation of the agreements signed with “PSA Peugeot – Citroen”.

 

Current and emerging issues:

 if the list of working sessions chaired by the King revealed the nature of strategic issues that are of concern to the State, there are other issues that require the organization of working sessions, mostly related to real-time and emerging issues. For instance, these include the complaints[36] submitted by a number of Moroccans residing abroad to the King, “as a result of being subjected to maltreatment when crossing a number of border posts in the Kingdom.”[37] This required a working session to discuss “the inappropriate behavior related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in a number of border posts in the Kingdom.” However, the interesting element of this session is that it was held after the King ordered an investigation into these behaviors in accordance with the law – which later led to the arrest of a number of security and customs personnel and royal gendarmes who were referred to the competent court. Thus, what is the purpose of holding a working session?

The second emerging issue is the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19)[38] around the world, which required a set of urgent measures and proceedings, aimed at bringing the situation under control. After the coronavirus appeared for the first time in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a video of a number of students in this city asking to be evacuated went viral on social media. For this purpose, the working session held on January 27th, 2020 was devoted to discuss the management of the evacuation of Moroccans in Wuhan, which took place on February 2nd, 2020. The 167 evacuees were quarantined in Rabat and Meknes for 20 days.[39]

The first working session on the Covid-19 situation was characterized by its proactivity, whereas the second one, held on March 17th, 2020, was of an up-to-date nature. Indeed, it was devoted to the follow-up of the management of the coronavirus spread and to the examining of the Ministry of Health’s readiness to deal with the spread of this deadly epidemic.

 

Table 6: Working sessions on emerging issues

Date The working session theme
August 9th, 2012 Inappropriate behaviors related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in a number of border posts of the Kingdom.
January 27th, 2020 The measures of the evacuation of a number of Moroccan citizens in the Chinese province of Wuhan.
March 17th, 2020 Monitoring the management of the spread of Corona virus.

 


Announced Working Sessions

The working sessions in question are not held by the Head of State with a selected number of his advisors. Rather, these are working sessions with an announced agenda and a major attention is allocated to them within the Royal activities broadcasted in the media, especially the official ones. Moreover, the Royal Court issues a detailed communiqué on them, mentioning the theme of the working session, its agenda, as well as the names and statuses of the attendees. It also points out the main discussions and inquiries that took place therein, and then indicates the most important decisions that resulted. In this sense, there are three types of wording depending on the timing of the sessions’ announcement in the communiqués issued by the Royal Court regarding working sessions:

The first wording type: announcing that the working session will be held on the same day, as the Royal Court’s communiqués are commenced by phrases such as: “His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, presided over a working session, today, Monday, at the royal palace in Rabat.”[40]

The second wording type: announcing the working session one day after it is held, as the Royal Court’s communiqués are commenced by phrases such as: “A communiqué of the Royal Court stated that His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, presided over a working session, yesterday, Tuesday, at the royal palace in Tangier.”[41]

The third wording type: announcing the working session two days after it was held, as it was stated in the Royal Court communiqué regarding the first working session after the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution, the following wording: “His Majesty King Mohammed VI presided over a working session, on Thursday, at the Royal Court in Rabat.[42]

 

Small Working Sessions

There are many similarities between the working sessions chaired by the King, and the meetings of the Ministerial Council (also headed by the King, as stated in article 48), which deliberates on a number of questions and texts (A 49). For instance, neither of them have a defined meeting schedule: in the Constitution there is no indication of the necessity of holding the Ministerial Council or the Council of Government weekly, monthly, or periodically. However, the Organic Law related to government functions has set the periodicity of the meetings of the Council of Government at a weekly manner[43], although its periodicity is not stipulated in the Constitution (article 92). Thus, it is customary to meet every Thursday morning, unless there is a need to meet on another day.[44] The same applies to the working sessions, as neither their schedule nor their periodicity are specified, and they may take place twice a month, or not take place in the year at all (2017).

 

Table 7: working sessions held twice a month

Date The theme of the working session theme
November 1st, 2018 Carrying out the renewable energy strategy.
November 29th, 2018 Follow-up on the issue of upgrading and modernizing the vocational training sector
January 7th, 2020 The National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020-2027.
January 27th, 2020 The measures of the evacuation of a number of Moroccan citizens in the Chinese province of Wuhan.

 

The timeframe analyzed (September 2011 – March 2020) witnessed 19 working sessions during 10 years. The same period that was marked by 32 meetings of the Ministerial Council.[45]Compared to the working sessions, this large number can be explained by two factors. First, the submission of draft laws to the Ministerial Council following the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution, especially during the first governmental mandate (2011-2016), due to the provisions of Article 86 of the Constitution. This article stipulates the necessity of presenting draft organic laws to be ratified prior to the end of the term of the first legislative mandate following the implementation of the 2011 Constitution. The second factor is related to the necessity for the Ministerial Council to deliberate annually on the general directives of the Finance Law, in accordance with the provisions of Item 4 of Article 48 of the Constitution, which results in10 meetings of the Ministerial Council within a decade.

 

Figure 3: Comparing working sessions with Ministerial Council meetings (2011-2020)

 

The first paragraph of Article 48 of the Constitution states that “the King presides over the Ministerial Council, which consists of the Head of Government and the ministers”. Whereas, working sessions are attended by a small number of officials, according to the agenda of the session. For instance, the first working session was held in the presence of four officials[46], but some of the working sessions turned into what seemed like a small Ministerial Council meeting, involving12 attendees.

Table 8: Working sessions attended by six officials or less

Number of attendees Theme of the working session
4 The progress of the integrated programs in the field of renewable energies, namely solar and wind energies.
5 Inappropriate behaviors related to bribery and maltreatment practiced by a number of security personnel working in a number of border posts of the Kingdom.
5 Examining the progress of renewable energy projects, supervised by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy.
6 The measures of the evacuation of a number of Moroccan citizens in the Chinese province of Wuhan.
6 Monitoring the management of the spread of Corona virus.

The working sessions chaired by the King may turn into a small Ministerial Council, as the discussions in these sessions are not limited to the issues on its agenda. Rather, they represent an opportunity for the King to inquire about specific issues, beyond the ones on the session’s agenda. For example, this is the case for the working session on upgrading and modernizing vocational training sector, held on November 29th, 2018, when the King opened the session with a query about “the progress of the implementation of the industrial acceleration plan for Souss-Massa region, that His Majesty had headed its launch on January 28th, 2018 in Agadir. This plan, which is the starting point for the regional implementation of the national industrial strategy, has not been progressing since then, thus, in this regard, His Majesty drew attention to this delay.”[47]

Table 9: Working sessions attended by more than six officials

7 Progress of the Moroccan solar energy project “Nour”
7 The issue of water
7 National Priority Program for Potable and Irrigation Water 2020-2027
8 The issue of immigration
8 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies[48]
8 The energy sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies[49]
8 Examining the progress of the implementation by MASEN (Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy) of the development of renewable energy programs of the Kingdom
8 Carrying out the renewable energy strategy
9 The energy sector
10 The Gas Pipeline Project Linking Nigeria and Morocco
11 Upgrading the Vocational Training Offer, Diversifying and Valuating Professions, Modernizing Options and Pedagogical Methods
11 Follow-up on the issue of upgrading and modernizing the vocational training sector
12 Presenting and studying the work plan related to the implementation of the agreements signed with “PSA Peugeot – Citroen”
12 Program for the upgrading of vocational training offer and renovation of options and pedagogical methods

 

Working Sessions that are not necessarily chaired by the King

Since the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution, the Government Council has been presided only by the Head of the Government, in light of Article 92 of the Constitution which states that “Deliberations in the Council of Government are headed by the Head of Government”, as well as due to the fact that there is no deputy for the Head of Government. Concerning the Ministerial Council, the last paragraph of Article 48 states that “The King can, on the basis of a specific determined agenda, delegate to the Head of Government the presidency of a Ministerial Council”, which is a constitutional requirement that has never been operationalized. The same goes for holding a Ministerial Council at the request of the Head of Government, as stipulated in the second paragraph of Article 48 of the Constitution.

It is worth noticing that only one working session was held without being chaired by the King. It was a session on the energy sector, held on December 26th, 2015, where it was stated in a Royal Court’s communiqué that “on the instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, a working session on the energy sector was held, today, Saturday, at the Royal Court in Casablanca, and was attended by a number of senior officials of this sector.” This can be explained by the great importance of the energy sector, and renewable energies especially, as out of 19 working sessions, 8 were about this sector.

 

Working Sessions that go beyond the Government’s temporal mandate

Neither the Constitution nor in the Organic Law related to organizing and managing government works indicate that the Government’s temporal mandate is determined to five years. Rather, this point is tacitly discerned by the Constitution while addressing the mandate of the Chamber of Representatives, by declaring that its members are elected “by universal direct suffrage for five years, and their membership ends at the opening of the October session of the fifth year that follows the parliament elections.”[50] Furthermore, it can be understood on the grounds that the Chamber of Representatives votes on the Government’s program in accordance with the arrangements set out in Article 88 of the Constitution. The Head of Government is deemed to present the program that he intends to implement in various areas of national activity, especially in economic, social, environmental, cultural and foreign policy, and on the basis of this program, the Parliament exercises its duties of supervision of Governmental action and evaluation of public policies.

One of the characteristic aspects of the working sessions is that they go beyond the governmental temporal mandate and the election period, which “clearly indicates the King’s strategic powers, outside the electoral period, and beyond competition, majority and opposition.”[51] The proof of this is that one of the working session on Energy Sector, mainly the National Program for Developing Renewable Energies (held the 26th September 2016), lasted two days (24 September 2016) and ended after the start of the electoral campaign for the election of members of the Chamber of Representatives.[52]As for the working session on the Gas Pipeline Project Linking Nigeria and Morocco, it was held on December 13th, 2016, when Abdelilah Benkirane[53], the appointed Head of Government, had not yet been able to form his government, after the King designated him on October 10th, 2016.[54]

Furthermore, the working sessions are not affected by the disputes that may arise within the government coalition and the withdrawal of a party or the accession of another one neither prevents the sessions from being held, nor impacts their progress. This occurred in regards to the working session on the question of immigration held on September 10th, 2013, when the Istiqlal Party had announced its withdrawal from the government in accordance with the communiqué issued by its National Council on May 11th, 2013, while the National Rally of Independents Party joined the government until October 14th, 2013[55].

 

The Nature of the Working Sessions

Out of seven topics and questions in the agenda of sessions, some questions were discussed in more than one session, as shown in table (10); two to nine sessions were allocated to the issues of energy[56], water, vocational training, and coronavirus, whereas one session each was allocated to the issues of immigration, and the behavior of security, and industry.

The nature of these working sessions is evident through the discussion of one topic in multiple sessions. Indeed, the purpose goes beyond raising attention to the problem mentioned in the State’s general policy agenda, or undergoing an official inquiry regarding an issue. Rather, it aims at discussing the details of the issue in question, and following-up the progress of the works. For instance, this was the case of the session on “Upgrading the vocational training offer, renovation of the options and pedagogical methods”, held on February 28, 2019, where the Royal Court’s communiqué indicated that this session aimed “to complete the previous two meetings on the vocational training sector.”[57]

Furthermore, during some sessions the King drew attention to the obstacles that may hinder the works on the topic in the session’s agenda. This was the case of the session on the follow-up of the upgrade and modernization of the vocational training sector (held on November29th, 2018), where the King emphasized on “the necessity of addressing some of its shortcomings and controlling the sources and mechanisms of its financing..[58]

 

Table 10: Number of sessions allocated to each topic

Number of sessions The topic of the session
9 Energy
3 Vocational training
2 The issue of water
2 Covid-19
1 Immigration
1 Measures (the behavior of security personnel in the border posts)
1 Car industry
19 Total

 

The King’s feelings of frustration and contentment

The communiqués issued by the Royal Court after the working sessions do not only provide information on the general political direction of the State, but also –and this is no less important –the King’s impression on the general functioning of the plans, programs and strategies discussed in the working sessions. Through the Royal Court’s communiqués, we get a sense of contentment about the functioning of a number of policies, but, at the same time, we also see the King’s frustration over the implementation of other policies. For example, this was the case when he drew attention[59] to the delays in the implementation of the industrial acceleration plan for the Souss-Massa region[60], which is the starting point for the regional implementation of the national industrial strategy. The content of this communiqué is that the plan “has not been progressing since its launch,”[61] which, in turn, demands that “the sector concerned must shoulder its responsibility in order to implement the plan within the specified time frame..[62]

On the contrary, the working sessions on the energy sector were marked by the King’s satisfaction with the work accomplished. Correspondingly, this was mentioned in the communiqué of the Royal Court concerning the working session on studying the progress of renewable energy projects supervised by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), held on April 26th, 2018. Indeed, the King expressed his “contentment with the progress made to date.”[63]The same occurred in the last session within the series of working sessions on energy, where the communiqué of the Royal Court stated that the king expressed “his satisfaction with the accomplishments made to date.”[64] It turns out that the communiqués of the Royal Court made a distinction between “the progress made” and “accomplishment”, which is a reflection of following-up on the progress since the preparation phase, to the implementation of the renewable energy strategy.

 

The Long-stalled Constitutionalization

The concept of Constitutionalization refers to the fundamental law inclusion of a requirement. A distinction is made between this and the establishing constitutionalization, which is the first-time addition of a requirement in the Constitution, such as creating a new institution (Supreme Security Council / Article 54 / paragraph.1), or adding a new competence (the exception of unconstitutionality of laws/ Article 133), or considering that fundamental freedoms and rights are guaranteed during the period of state of exception (Article 59 / paragraph.3).

Furthermore, there is the revealing constitutionalization, which is the process of constitutionalization of a requirement that has been ongoing by virtue of practice. For example, this was the case of the meetings of the Council of Government before the 2011 Constitution, which used to be held without being stipulated by any of the Moroccan Constitutions since 1962, and without anyone contesting its texts and policy-related outcomes, until it was constitutionalized under Article 92 of the current Constitution.

In relation to this last point, Article 92 of the 2011 Constitution provides a set of texts and questions on which the Council of Government deliberates, under the chairmanship of its Head of Government. Nonetheless, the said Council has been deliberating on draft Organic Laws[65] without it being mentioned in Article 92. Rather, the Ministerial Council is supposed to deliberate on them in accordance with the provisions of Article 49 of the Constitution, on the grounds that the process of constitutionalization legitimizes practices and procedures.

What applies for the deliberation of the Government Council on Organic Laws outside the formal and procedural requirements that the 2011 Constitution laid the foundation for, also applies for the working sessions chaired by the King. The Constitution does not mention this type of sessions. Even if there is an interpretation that affirms that these sessions are included in the provisions of Article 42 (paragraph 1)[66] of the Constitution, its third paragraph does not support this argument, by making it clear that “the King exercises these missions, by virtue of Dahirs and through the powers that are expressly devolved to him by the Constitution.”

The constitutionalization of the working sessions chaired by the King raises a number of dilemmas, in terms of the timing of the session, the nature of attendees, the body responsible for preparing its agenda, the nature of texts and questions that are being discussed in it, and the relationship of all of this to the State’s general policy and public policies. If the functioning of the Government Council is organized by an Organic Law that defines the formalities of its meetings, neither the Ministerial Council nor the working sessions are subject to this rule. Therefore, constitutionalizing them in the future may limit the flexibility of their convening, which is allowed by the custom and remains uncontrolled by the Constitution.

 

Conclusion

The late King Hassan II often said that “the throne is not an empty sofa. Thus, the working sessions chaired by the King seek to stress the executive presence of the King, his administration of State affairs, and his keenness to follow up on strategic and emerging issues and questions. In turn, this weakens the role of the presidency of the Government, and makes it strive only to implement the decisions issued by the working sessions.

 

Footnotes

[1]The order to implement the Constitution was issued on July 29th, 2011, and it was published in the Official Gazette on the following day.

[2] The Ministerial Council meeting held on January 10th, 2017 was devoted to ratifying the Constitutive Act of the African Union, while a second Ministerial Council was held on June 25th, 2017, and a third meeting was held on October 2nd, 2017, dedicated mainly to presenting the broad directions of the draft Finance Law for the year 2018, in accordance with the provisions of Article 49 of the reformed Constitution.

[3] See the statement issued by the Ministerial Council meeting on the website of the General Secretariat of the Government.

[4] The topic of clean water is the sixth goal among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, due to the worrisome problem of water scarcity, which calls for more sustainable planning to preserve this vital resource.

[5]During the Ministerial Council meeting held on October 2nd, 2017the King raised attention to the problem of potable water scarcity and grazing water in rural and mountainous areas, and gave his instructions to the head of the government with the aim of chairing a committee to study this issue and find appropriate solutions.

[6] Communiqués issued by the Royal Court regarding working sessions are keen on naming the Head of the Government first, followed by the King’s advisors, then the ministers, and directors of public institutions and enterprises.

[7] The names of the ministers attending the working sessions are put in order, through the Royal Court’s communiqués, based on the last Dahir appointing members of the government. Thus, we find that the Minister of Interior is on top of the list, followed by the Minister of Justice, and the rest of the members of the government.

[8] The General Secretary of the employment sector attended the working session on the migration sector, held on September 10th, 2013.

[9] Article 49 of the Constitution states that “The Ministerial Council deliberates on the following questions and texts (..),” and Article 92 of the Constitution states that “the Council of Government, under the presidency of the Head of Government, deliberates on the following questions and texts (..).”

[10] Only the relevant elements of the analysis are mentioned

[11] Kingdom of Morocco, The House of Representatives, Frame of Reference for the Evaluation of Public Policies, Publications of the House of Representatives (1), p. 29

[12]Ibidem

[13] In the 2011 Constitution, there was a number of expressions that revolved around general policy and public policies, for example: “The Council of Government, under the chairmanship of the Head of Government, shall deliberate on the following questions and texts: – The State’s general policy before presenting them to the Ministerial Council”/ Article 92 (item 1); “Answers to general policy questions are provided by the Head of the Government, and these questions are allocated one session every month, and are answered before the concerned council during the thirty days following the referral of questions to the Head of Government/ Article 100 (paragraph 3); “Other territorial regions and local collectivities contribute to the activation of the State’s general policy (…)” / Article 137; “The public authorities shall establish consultative bodies, with a view to involving various social actors, in the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies” / Article 13; Parliament shall vote on laws, monitor government action, and assess public policies / Article 70 (paragraph 2); Under the chairmanship of the Head of Government, the Council of Government shall deliberate on the following questions and texts: – Public policies / Article 92 (item 2); “An annual session shall be devoted by the parliament to the discussion and evaluation of public policies” / Article 101 (Paragraph 2); Under the chairmanship of the Head of Government, the Council of Government shall deliberate on the following questions and texts: – Sectoral policies; Article 92 (item 3); “Other territorial regions and collectivities shall contribute to the activation of the State’s general policy and to the preparation of territorial policies” / Article 137.

[14] The first paragraph of Article 42 of the Constitution stipulates the following: “The King is the Head of State, its Supreme Representative, Symbol of the unity of the Nation, Guarantor of the permanence and continuity of the State and Supreme Arbiter between the institutions, ensures compliance with the Constitution, to the good functioning of the constitutional institutions, to the protection of democratic choice and of the rights and freedoms of all citizens, of the collectivities, and to comply with the international commitments of the Kingdom.”

[15]Article 89 of the Constitution stipulates the following: “The government exercises the executive power. Under the authority of the Head of Government, the government implements its governmental program, assures the execution of the laws, disposes the administration and supervises the public enterprises and establishments and assures their protection.”

 

 

 

 

[16]The Moroccan Constitutions and successive reviews used to employ the expression “Prime Minister”, as was stated, for example, in Article 24 / Paragraph.1 of the 1996 constitutional review: “The King appoints the Prime Minister.” However, this designation changed according to Article 47 / Paragraph.1 of the 2011 Constitution: “The King appoints the Head of Government from within the political party winning the elections of the members of the Chamber of Representatives, and with a view to their results.”

[17]Abbas El Fassi was appointed Prime Minister on September 19, 2007, following the results of the elections of September 7th, 2007, which were marked by a low electoral participation rate. Please refer to:- Dahir No. 1.07.194 issued on Ramadan 6, 1428 (September 19, 2007) appointing Mr. Abbas El Fassi as Prime Minister. Official Gazette No. 5563, dated Ramadan 11, 1428 (September 24, 2007), p. 3145.

[18] Abdelilah Benkirane was appointed Prime Minister on the 29 November 2011, following the results of the 25 November 2011 elections, which are the first elections to be held after the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution. Please refer to:- Dahir No. 1.11.83 issued on  Muharram 3, 1433 (November 29, 2011) appointing Mr. Abdelilah Benkirane as Head of Government. Official Gazette No. 6000, Muharram 5, 1433 (December 1, 2011), p. 5700.

– Dahir No. 1.12.01 issued on Safar 9, 1433 (January 3, 2012) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 6009 bis, dated 10 Safar 1433 (January 4, 2012), p. 154.

[19] Abdelali Hami Din, “In Defense of the Constitution,” Hespress, September 1, 2012.

[20]She passed away on December 16, 2015.

[21] On December 6, 2011 the Ministry of the Royal palace, Protocol and the Chancellery announced that the King Mohammed VI had appointed Yassir Zenagui as a Royal Advisor. The King had appointed him Minister of Tourism and Handicraft on January 4, 2010. Please refer to:- Dahir No. 1.10.01 issued on Muharram 18, 1431 (January 4, 2010) by amending the Dahir No. 1.07.200 of  Shawal 3, 1428 (October 15, 2007) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 5804, dated Muharram 28, 1431 (January 14, 2010), p. 107.-According to the Royal Decree No. 1.12.02 issued on Safar 9, 1433 (January 3, 2012), Mr. Yassir Zenagui was appointed advisor to the King, starting from Safar 9, 1433 (January 3, 2012), Official Gazette No. 6010, dated Safar 11, 1433 (January 5, 2012), P. 164.

[22]In accordance with the Royal Decree No. 1.11.196 issued on Muharram 11, 1433 (December 7, 2011), Fouad Ali El Himma was appointed advisor to the King as of Muharram 11, 1433 (7 December 2011), Official Gazette No. 6006, dated Muharram 26, 1433 (December 22, 2011) P. 6153.

[23]Fadel Benyaich, the King’s classmate at Al-Madrassa al Maulawiya, served as an ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain after his appointment to this position during the Ministerial Council meeting held on February 11, 2013.

[24] In accordance with the Royal Decree No. 1.11.185 issued on Muharram 9, 1433 (December 5, 2011), Omar Azziman was appointed advisor to the King starting from Muharram 3, 1433 (29 November 2011), Official Gazette No. 6003 dated Muharram 16, 1433 (December 12 2011), p. 5918.

[25] Omar Azziman was appointed as the President-Delegate of the Supreme Council for Education, on August 20th, 2013. The members of the Supreme Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research were appointed on July 16th, 2014, and Omar Azziman was appointed as its President.

[26]The Supreme Council for Education has been constitutionalized since the 1970 Constitution (Article 33) as a result of what was known as the uprising of March 23rd, 1965, one of the strongest protest dynamics that marked the history of modern and contemporary Morocco. Article 168 of the 2011 Constitution stipulates that a Supreme Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research shall be established, as an advisory body; its task is to give opinions and feedback on all public policies, national issues of concern to education, training, and scientific research, as well as on the objectives and functioning of public facilities in charge of these areas. It also contributes to evaluating public policies and programs in this area.

 

[27] The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy was created in 2010. Its name changed in 2016 to become: “The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy “, and it is considered, in the provisions of the organic law relating to appointment to senior positions, a strategic public enterprise. Please refer to:

– Dahir No. 1.12.20 issued on Shaaban 27, 1433 (July 17, 2012) implementing the organic law No. 02.12 related to the appointment of senior positions in implementation of the provisions of Article 49 and 92 of the Constitution. Official Gazette No. 6066, dated Shaaban 29, 1433 (July 19, 2012), p. 4237.

– Dahir No. 1.18.23 issued on Rajab 8, 1439 (March 26, 2018) implementing the law No. 27.17 changing and supplementing the organic law No. 12.12 related to the appointment of senior positions in accordance with the provisions of Article 49 and 92 of the Constitution promulgated by the Dahir No. 1.12.20 of 27 From Shaaban 1433 (July 17, 2012), Official Gazette No. 6659, dated Rajab 8, 1439 (March 26, 2018), p. 1716.- Dahir No. 1.10.18 issued on Safar 26,1431 (February 11, 2010) implementing law No. 57.09 by which the company “MOROCCAN AGENCY FOR SOLAR ENERGY” was created. Official Gazette No. 5822, dated Rabi’ II 1, 1431 (March 18, 2010), p. 1127.

– Dahir No. 1.16.132 issued on Du Alqi’dah 21, 1437 (August 25, 2016) implementing law No. 37.16 changing and supplementing law No. 57.09 by which the company “MOROCCAN AGENCY FOR SOLAR ENERGY” was created. Official Gazette No. 6502, dated Du Alhijjah 20, 1437 (September 22, 2016), p. 6823.

[28]This implies that the Organic Law related to the appointment of senior positions is changed and supplemented each time. Between 2012 and 2020, it was amended five times.

[29] The National Strategy for Migration and Asylum, website of the Ministry-delegate of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, in charge of Moroccans residing abroad. https://marocainsdumonde.gov.ma/strategie-nationale-dimmigration-et-dasile/?lang=ar

[30] – Dahir No. 1.13105 issued on Du Alhijjah 8, 1434 (October 14, 2013) changing the Dahir No. 1.12.01 of Safar 9, 1433 (January 3, 2012) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 6195, dated Du Alhijjah 8, 1434 (October 14, 2013), p. 6500.

[31] – Dahir No. 1.17.07 of Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017), appointing members of the government.  Official Gazette No. 6558 bis, on Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017), p. 2581.

[32] See in this regard: Dahir No. 1.19.22 issued on Safar 15, 1441 (October 14, 2019) changing the Dahir No. 1.17.07 issued of Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017). Official Gazette No. 6822 bis, dated Safar 19, 1441 (October 18, 2019).

[33] Communiqué of the Royal Court regarding the working session related to the issue of water held on January 7th, 2020.

[34]The Rif Movement refers to the protest that started following the tragic death of the fish seller Mouhsine Fikri in Al-Hoceima on October 28th, 2016, after the seizure of his goods. This resulted in major repercussions on the overall political situation, last witnessed in Morocco during the protests of the Movement 20February in 2011. The Rif Movement was marked by a set of distinctive characteristics, most notably the legitimacy of the claims and people’s peaceful way of expressing these claims, in spirit of the strong bond reinforced by the trilogy of land, man and language intensifying the sense of identity and belonging.

[35]A communiqué of the Royal Court was issued on April 4th, 2019, stating that the King chaired “the presentation session of the roadmap related to the development of vocational training and the creation of “cities of trades and skills” in every region. The announcement of the roadmap was marked by the attendance of a large number of officials. The Royal Court communiqué did not mention the phrase “working session”.

[36]It is not among the aims of this study to ascertain the facts regarding this issue, nor to express different views on this topic.

[37]Communiqué of the Royal Court.

[38] The “Covid-19” virus belongs to the coronavirus family that targets the respiratory system. It first appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Morocco recorded the first infection with the virus on March 2nd, 2020.

[39] On February 22nd, 2020, the Ministry of Health announced the end of the quarantine period for the 167 evacuated citizens.

[40]  As is the case, for example, of the working session on upgrading the vocational training offer and renovating options and pedagogical methods held on February 28th, 2019.

[41]This has been the case of the working session on the energy sector, specifically on the National Program for the Development of Renewable Energies, held on October 14th, 2015.

[42]Communiqué of the Royal Court on the working session on the progress of the integrated programs in the field of renewable energies, namely solar and wind power, held on September 22nd, 2011.

[43]Article 14 / paragraph.1 of Law No. 065.13 on Government Works stipulates the following: “The Council of Government shall hold its meetings at least once a week, unless there is an impediment to that.” In this regard, please refer to: Dahir No. 1.15.33 issued on Jumada I 28, 1436 (March 19, 2015) implementing Law No. 065.13 related to the regulation and functioning of government works and the legal status of its members. Official Gazette No. 6348, dated Jumada II 12, 1436 (April 2, 2015), p. 3517.

[44]Anticipating or delaying the meetings of the Council of Government is determined in conjunction with a royal activity or an official holiday. For example, the practice has resulted in its convening on Sunday, as was the case, of the meeting held on March 22nd, 2020, to deliberate on a draft decree of Law No. 2.20.292 related to enacting provisions on the state of health emergency and procedures for announcing it, and draft decree No. 2.20.293 related to declaring state of health emergency all around the national territory in order to face the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

[45] Only the meetings of the Ministerial Council held during the period after the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution have been studied.

[46] During the period of reference: September 2011 – March 2020.

[47]Communiqué of the Royal Court

[48] On October 4th, 2015

[49] On September 26th, 2016

[50]Article 62 of the 2011 Constitution.

[51]Hassan Tarik, “A Royal Working Session in Election Time: reading attempt,” Hespress, September 27, 2016.

[52] The electoral campaign started at the first hour of Saturday 24 September 2016, and ended at midnight on Thursday, October 6, 2016.

[53] The Justice and Development Party topped the results of the elections for members of the Chamber of Representatives for the second time in a row after the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution, and following the results of the elections of October 7, 2016, the King received, on October 9, 2016, Abdelilah Benkirane and assigned him to form a government, which he was unable to do due to disputes with a number of political parties during government formation consultations. On March 15, 2017, Abdelilah Benkirane was exempted from this mission that was assigned on the following day (March 17, 2017) to Saad Dine El Otmani, Head of the National Council for the Justice and Development Party, and on April 7, 2017, members of the government were appointed by the King. See in this regard:

– Dahir No. 1.17.04 issued on Jumada II 18, 1438 (March 17, 2017) appointing Mr. Saad Dine El Otmani as Head of Government, Official Gazette No. 6554, dated Jumada II 24, 1438 (March 23, 2017), p. 896.

– Dahir No. 1.17.07 of Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 6558 bis, on Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017), p. 2580.

[54] The Justice and Development Party topped the results of the elections for members of the Chamber of Representatives for the second time in a row after the entry into force of the 2011 Constitution, and following the results of the elections of October 7, 2016, the King received, on October 9, 2016, Abdelilah Benkirane and assigned him to form a government, which he was unable to do due to disputes with a number of political parties during government formation consultations. On March 15, 2017, Abdelilah Benkirane was exempted from this mission that was assigned on the following day (March 17, 2017) to Saad Dine El Otmani, Head of the National Council for the Justice and Development Party, and on April 7, 2017, members of the government were appointed by the King. See in this regard:

– Dahir No. 1.17.04 issued on Jumada II 18, 1438 (March 17, 2017) appointing Mr. Saad Dine El Otmani as Head of Government, Official Gazette No. 6554, dated Jumada II 24, 1438 (March 23, 2017), p. 896.

– Dahir No. 1.17.07 of Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 6558 bis, on Rajab 9, 1438 (April 7, 2017), p. 2580.

[55] – Dahir No. 1.13105 issued on Du Alhijjah 8, 1434 (October 14, 2013) changing the Dahir No. 1.12.01 of Safar 9, 1433 (January 3, 2012) appointing members of the government. Official Gazette No. 6195, dated Du Alhijjah 8, 1434 (October 14, 2013), p. 6500.

[56] Including the working session on the Gas Pipeline Project linking Nigeria-Morocco, held on December 13, 2016.

[57]Royal Court’s communiqué

[58]Royal Court’s communiqué

[59] The working session on the follow-up of the upgrade and modernization of the vocational training sector, held on November 29th, 2018.

[60]The King ordered its launch in Agadir on January 28, 2018.

[61]Royal Court’s communiqué.

[62]Ibid.

[63]Communiqué of the Royal Court, the working session on studying the progress of renewable energy projects supervised by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN), held on April 26th, 2018.

[64]Communiqué of the Royal Court, the working session on implementing the renewable energy strategy, held on November 1st, 2018.

[65] – For example: on July 18, 2013, the Government Council deliberated on a draft Organic Law No. 066.13 related to the Constitutional Court. It was approved after discussing it, taking into account the amendments submitted after being studied, in preparation for presenting it to the deliberations of a future Ministerial Council, which was done on October 15, 2013.

[66] It states the following: The King is the Head of State, its Supreme Representative, Symbol of the unity of the Nation, Guarantor of the permanence and  continuity of the State and Supreme Arbiter between the institutions, He ensures compliance with the Constitution, to the good functioning of the constitutional institutions, to the protection of democratic choice and of the rights and freedoms of all citizens, of the collectivities, and to comply with the international commitments of the Kingdom”

Abderrahmane ALLAL

Abderrahmane ALLAL

holds a PhD in Public Law from the Faculty of Law - Mohamed I University in Oujda on “Human Rights in the Perception of Islamic Movement in Morocco: Discourse and Practice.” He also holds a MA degree in law drafting and parliamentary work. He is concerned with constitutionality and political Islam as well as constitutional human rights law. He took part in conferences and group works. He produced judicious studies inside and outside Morocco. He also works as a consultant on legislation, public policy, and human rights for national and international NGOs.


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