Morocco

Moroccan opposition call new protest after referendum landslide

Reuters/Macao

Morocco’s opposition 20 February Movement has called a demonstration on Sunday after the government announced that 98 per cent of voters had voted “yes” to proposed constitutional changes in Friday’s referendum.

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Voter turnout was 72.65 per cent, despite the opposition’s call for a boycott, according to Interior Minister Taib Cherkaoui, who added that 30 per cent of voters were under the age of 35.

King Mohammed VI announced the referendum would take place last month after a series of protests, mainly involving young people.

Leaders of the 20 February Movement called the result “ridiculous” and claimed it was “marked by massive violations of democratic principles”.

“I think that the others [the ruling circles] are ready to give us a slice of the cake and, if we say no, they will just keep it for themselves,” Karim, a voter in the capital, Rabat, told RFI.

Another, Hayat, was more optimistic, saying he was voting “to change Morocco, the government and fight corruption and unemployment and have cheaper housing.”

But 23-year-old engineer Arouane refused to vote.

“It’s not real democracy,” he said. “It’s to calm the people down, that’s all. I want a constitutional monarchy like in Britain and Spain.”

The constitutional changes reduce the king’s powers but still leave him as head of state and chairman of the cabinet.

The United States welcomed the result, declaring it "an important step in Morocco's ongoing democratic development".

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