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How to Rule by Proxy: the King’s Eyes and Ears in the Moroccan Provinces

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image Royal Prerogative: King appointing regional governor

The North Africa Journal | The latest revision of the Moroccan constitution was supposed to usher in a new era of democracy by providing more power to the representatives of the people and reducing the Monarchy's prerogatives. Still, the monarchy remains unchallenged, having created a system that essentially controls virtually everything, directly and through the so-called Makhzen system.

Among the front-line defenders of the monarchy's governance over Moroccans are 17 men who were appointed to administer the provinces. They were not voted in nor selected by the people, nor were they appointed by the semi-autonomous Prime Minister. In fact, they were appointed by the powerful Interior Minister who reports directly to the King. 

May 11, 2012 saw the first wave of appointments of Walis (governors), men (no woman) who are tasked to rule over the country's provinces and governorates. The appointments were a source of discontent and anger among the political party that won the legislative elections, the Islamist-leaning PJD. This is because their Chief and Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane who, while he was not actively involved in the selection process, endorsed all the candidates put forward by the Interior Minister. Many PJD members have directed attacks against Benkirane for not taking issue or vetoing a single nominee. The list was handed over to the government by the man in charge of the security system, Interior Minister Mohand Laenser who happens to report to King Mohammed VI.

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