In a national television and radio address delivered Wednesday, Moroccan King Mohammed VI announced his intention to pursue "comprehensive constitutional reforms," giving up much of his own power as constitutional monarch. These reform would include direct election of the prime minister, reforms to the judiciary, and increasing the power of parliament.
It was a rare public appearance for the king, but a necessary one, argues Reuters' Souhail Karam. While the recent unrest in the region has not put the king "under direct threat," his "wide ranging royal prerogatives" that include "choosing the prime minister and holding sway over the judiciary" have angered young Moroccans. On February 20, thousands of young people attended country-wife protests in demand of constitutional reform. At the time, Mohammed dismissed the events as "demagoguery. "
The grievances, Karam notes, had yet to "strike a chord with the majority of Moroccans." But they did with the king, who repeatedly mentioned the country's young people throughout the speech. It certainly looks like Mohammed VI is following in the path of the Jordanian monarchy and the sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said Al Said, both of whom have made crowd-pleasing concessions that have, so far, kept their countries free of the kind of unrest seen in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.