Washington, DC (June 29, 2011) — Morocco is “still far from a democracy,” according to Younes Abouyoub, lead organizer of MoroccoTomorrow and political analyst at Columbia University, but it will face a “democratic moment” on July 1 when Moroccans head to the polls to vote on a crucial constitutional referendum. MoroccoTomorrow is a new, independent group of young Moroccan professionals committed to socio-political reform in their country.
Speaking to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Abouyoub hailed the growing peaceful political activism of the Moroccan people in the midst of the Arab Spring, and noted that the world will be watching as Morocco ushers in a new era of democratic reform in the Arab world.
“These are historic times in Morocco, where the government is allowing the people to speak more loudly and voice their grievances,” said Abouyoub. “The referendum will shape a new Morocco.”
MoroccoTomorrow’sleadership was joined at the press conference by Ahmed Herzenni, a former political prisoner who until recently served as President of the Moroccan Advisory Council on Human Rights (CCDH). He left this position to join the commission that drafted the constitutional reforms that will face a popular vote on Friday.
In his remarks, Herzenni laid out the manner in which the reforms will solidify rights across cultures and genders in Morocco, limit the absolute powers of the king, and promote stronger and more distinct political parties to accurately represent the will of the Moroccan people.
“The demonstrations this year helped speed up the process of reform in Morocco and revived the public’s political interest and activism,” said Herzenni.
International lawyer with the World Justice Project and expert on North African jurisprudence Leila Hanafi, another MoroccoTomorrow leader, called in from Morocco to discuss the importance of enhancing the rule of law in the country.
“Morocco has the potential to be a guide for other countries in the region,” Hafani said, “but we must improve in areas like due process and actually enforcing the laws that we enact.”
“Taboos have been broken,” added Abouyoub. “Politics are no longer something to be feared.”
On Friday July 1st, the Kingdom of Morocco will hold a national referendum on constitutional reforms that will mark a new era in Morocco’s political development, including instituting stronger limitations on the power of the Monarchy and guaranteeing that members of Parliament be democratically elected and its Prime Minister chosen from the party with a majority of seats. If passed, this October Moroccans for the first time will vote for a truly representative government, making the reforms some of the first concrete steps towards democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring.
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MoroccoTomorrow is a new, independent group of young Moroccan professionals committed to socio-political reform in their country. MoroccoTomorrow, a 501(c)3 organization, provides a forum for all those who believe in the future of Morocco. It provides a source of clear and unbiased information about Morocco, and seeks to act as a bridge between Moroccans at home and abroad, between friends of the country and all those eager to learn more.
MoroccoTomorrow was created by a group of young Moroccan professionals in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Europe — participants in a robust and global social network. They are just a few of the 4.5 million Moroccans who live outside of their homeland, and who want to share their love and knowledge of Morocco with the world, and help shape its future.
MoroccoTomorrow wishes to give a voice to all those who care about Morocco and want it to succeed. MoroccoTomorrow belongs to no party or movement, and welcomes the participation and contributions of all who want to help Morocco to become a more transparent place for its citizens and its partners.