Morocco heads for decentralisation

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Morocco heads for decentralisation

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King Mohammed VI of Morocco has announced plans for a root and branch shake up of the way his country is governed.

More than two years after first mooting the idea, he has named a 22-member Advisory Committee on Regionalisation in a bid to devolve power away from Rabat but also to reaffirm Morocco’s claims to Western Sahara.

The King has given the committee six months to come up with a plan “specific to Morocco’s needs rather than an imitation of foreign models”.

The result, he said, would lead to the renovation and modernisation of the state.

As for Western Sahara, the King said the region must not be allowed to stagnate but should be among the first to benefit from the reform.

Morocco annexed the mainly desert, phosphate-rich former Spanish colony in 1975.

However, the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has been fighting for independence for decades.

Several United Nations initiatives to resolve the dispute have all failed.