Law and reform in Morocco

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding

Abstract

Morocco has for twenty years been in what is officially described as a transition to democracy. During the former king Hassan II negotiations with the opposition resulted in two constitutional reforms and a new government in 1998 dominated by the former opposition parties. In the 2000s two important law reforms were made: a new law of personal status in 2004 and a new constitution in 2011. The new constitution was followed by parliamentary elections which resulted in a coalition government dominated by a moderate Islamist party.
The adoption of the new law of personal status in 2004 was preceded by a campaign by the women’s movement for over a decade and an attempt at reform by the new government in 1999 that was thwarted by opposition from conservatives and Islamists. After the crackdown on Islamists in the wake of the terror attacks in Casablanca 2003, Muhammad VI put all his weight behind a new law which was adopted in the parliament in 2004. This law introduced profound reforms through inventive interpretations of the Islamic tradition, notably the Maliki one. For example, the introduction of a new procedure for divorce, called shiqaq with reference to a Koranic verse (4:35), gave women equal authority to initiate divorce as men.
The new law also defines family as under the leadership of both the spouses, instead as under only the husband as in the previous law. However, in order to retain the law’s Islamic character the rules on distribution of inheritance were not reformed. In spite of this the king announced in 2008 that Morocco would withdraw its reservation form the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women arguing that it now fulfilled all conditions.
As a direct result of demonstrations for reforms during spring 2011 a new constitution was adopted in a referendum the same year. While the new constitution contains limited reforms of the power relations between elected politicians and the king, it redefines the Moroccan nation as a multicultural one by emphasizing the contributions of all its components. While recognizing the place of minorities in Moroccan society this recognition of diversity at the same time emphasizes the king’s role as the unifying factor above social and political contention.

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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences

Keywords

  • Islam, Morocco, Middle East, Gender, Law, Family law
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedNo
EventReligion, Law and Society - Swedish Institute in Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 2014 Feb 102014 Feb 11

Conference

ConferenceReligion, Law and Society
CountryTurkey
CityIstanbul
Period2014/02/102014/02/11