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Backgrounds: Morocco Government
The Moroccan Constitution provides for a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary. Ultimate authority rests with the King. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the prime minster following legislative elections; appoints all members of the government taking into account the prime minister's recommendations; and may, at his discretion, terminate the tenure of any minister, dissolve the Parliament, call for new elections, or rule by decree. The King is the head of the military and the country's religious leader. Upon the death of his father Mohammed V, King Hassan II succeeded to the throne in 1961. He ruled Morocco for the next 38 years, until his own death in 1999. His son, King Mohammed VI, assumed the throne in July 1999.
Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of a lower chamber; the Chamber of Representatives, which is directly elected; and an upper chamber, the Chamber of Counselors, whose members are indirectly elected through various regional, local, and professional councils. The councils' members themselves are elected directly. The Parliament's powers, though limited, were expanded under the 1992 and 1996 constitutional revisions and include budgetary matters, approving bills, questioning ministers, and establishing ad hoc commissions of inquiry to investigate the government's actions. The lower chamber of Parliament may dissolve the government through a vote of no confidence.
In November 2002, King Mohammed VI named a government headed by former Interior Minister Driss Jettou, and composed of ministers drawn from most major parties in the coalition. The September 2002 parliamentary elections were largely free, fair, and transparent. The highest court in the judicial structure is the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the King. The Jettou government is pursuing a socioeconomic program, including increased housing and education. Morocco is divided into 16 administrative regions (further broken into provinces and prefectures); the regions are administered by Walis and governors appointed by the King.
Morocco maintains an embassy in the United States at 1601 - 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (tel. 202-462-7979).
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