Morocco pencils in November date for early election

RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco’s government has proposed that a parliamentary election take place early in November instead of the scheduled date of September next year, a government minister said on Sunday.

Moroccan ruler King Mohammed has said he wants early elections to follow through on a package of constitutional reforms that were designed to reduce the risk of the “Arab Spring” uprisings reaching his country.

Setting the new date has involved delicate negotiations between the interior ministry, which oversees elections, and some political parties who say more time is needed to prepare fraud-proof elections.

“The (interior) ministry has proposed to political parties that November 11 be the tentative date for early parliamentary polls,” Communication Minister Khalid Naciri, who is also the government’s chief spokesman, told Reuters.

“Now the parties and the ministry will need to agree on the election system that needs to be adopted, the election laws and whether we should have separate national lists for (electing) women and young people.”

Under the constitutional reforms, approved in a referendum last month, the king will hand over some of his powers to elected officials, but he will retain a decisive say on strategic decisions.

In a July 30 television address, the 47-year old monarch said the constitutional changes should be implemented swiftly.

“Any delay may jeopardise this dynamic of trust and squander opportunities offered by the new reform,” King Mohammed said.

“It’s important to start with the election of a new parliament so that we can proceed … with the appointment of a head of the government.”

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