The "arab spring" has lead to new governments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen and there have been demonstrations in Bahrain, Syria, Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan,and Western Sahara.
Morocco has been one of the most liberal of the Islamic countries and has had relatively little political demonstration, partly due to rapid, and sometimes violent, action by the authorities. Morocco is a sovereign state and King Mohammed VI has pledged to introduce a genuine democratic system since his accession in 1999. There is an elected lower house (295 men, 30 women) but the King is still both the secular political leader and the "Commander of the Faithful" as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister from the political party that has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, and on recommendations from the latter, appoints the members of the government. The constitution theoretically allows the king to terminate the tenure of any minister, and after consultation with the heads of the higher and lower Assemblies, to dissolve the Parliament, suspend the constitution, call for new elections, or rule by decree.
There have been sporadic terrorist attacks and violent demonstrations over the last 10 years and the "arab spring" has acted as a catalyst resulting in the King accelerating the democratic process. The latest proposed changes are :
*The Berber language is now an official state language along with Arabic
*The Hassānīya language (spoken by some 200,000 people in the disputed Moroccan southern Sahara) is protected
*The king now has the obligation to appoint a prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections. Previously, he could appoint any person in this position regardless of the election results.
*The king is no longer "holy and sacred" but he is still uncriticizable by anybody.
*High administrative and diplomatic posts are now appointed by the prime minister and the ministerial council which is presided by the king, previously the latter exclusively held this power.
*The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.
*The prime minister will preside over the council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.
*The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king.
The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees this independence.
*Women are guaranteed "civic and social" equality with men. Previously, only "political" equality was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights and before the law.
*The King will retain complete control of the armed forces, foreign policy and the judiciary; authority for choosing and dismissing prime ministers and he would retain control of matters pertaining to religion.
*All citizens have the freedom of: thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation.
On 2 July 2011 some Moroccan protesters said they were undeterred despite a landslide victory for King Mohammed in a referendum on constitutional changes they say do nothing to ease his autocratic grip on power.
There is currently an international campaign calling for the release of political prisoners including Mouad Belrhouat, known as El-Haqed or "The Sullen One", who has been jailed for "singing a song defamatory to a public authority". http://news.yahoo.com/outspoken-morocco ... 53524.html
The UK govt advice for travellers - http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-liv ... ca/morocco - notes :
"There is a general threat from terrorism in Morocco. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. You should have confidence in your individual security arrangements and maintain a high level of vigilance. There have been demonstrations in a number of major cities across the country and incidences of looting and vandalism in Tangier, Marrakech and other locations. You should follow news reports and be alert to developments that might trigger public disturbances. Any increase in tension might affect Travel Advice."
Information provided as information because many will be tempted by current low cost, and last minute, travel bargains.