Analysts Discuss the Moroccan Referendum

In a recent Op/Ed in the New York Times, Ahmed Charai and Joseph Braude lauded the results of the July 1 Moroccan referendum as “the most significant development in the Arab world all summer.” They discussed the newly approved changes to the constitution as significant and as a potential new model for political transition in the region. Charai and Braude believe that Morocco may even be able to replace Egypt as a regional leader if the “constitutional experiment” succeeds.

The optimism shared by Charai and Braude is tempered however in a recent publication released by Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW is hopeful that the constitutional changes will be enacted, but stressed that actions by the government have yet to be realized, citing previous unmet promises of reform. HRW specifically called upon the Moroccan government to reform the press and penal laws and to reform how the police respond to peaceful protests. HRW detailed peaceful protests in May in the cities of Temara, Casablanca, Rabat, and Kenitra that were met with harsh violence by security forces.