#Feb20, Constitutional Reform, Democracy, Moroccans For Change, Morocco

Moroccans mobilize for democracy: Citizens Forum for Democratic Change (FCCD)

The  FCCD ( Forum Citoyen pour le Changement Democratic translated =“The Citizens’ Forum for Democratic Change”),  met on May 14th in order to serve as a proposition platform underlining the guiding principles for a future democratic constitution in Morocco. The meeting was attended by around 200 participants, while over 540 members joined the Forum’s list.

The following is the first part of a note summarizing the work of the FCCD. The second part (to be published soon) will detail the recommendations of the Forum. The original document of the FCCD ( published in French) is online and accessible to everyone.The names of the contributors and members of the Working Groups who produced this report can be found on the original report, and were intentionally omitted by M4C in this summary so as to avoid not giving proper credit to all the contributors.

While the work of the Forum was mostly materialized on the ground, the efforts and discussions laying the foundations for the meeting were initiated through the use of online tools.

Part I

The FCCD draws its strength from the diversity of its membership: a third of the members are women; 40% of the members come from regions outside of the axis Settat- Casablanca –Rabat. Moreover, the members come from various professional disciplines: CEOs of private companies; social entrepreneurs; university professors; artists, political activists; feb20 youth movement; junior and senior level professionals; liberal professions, etc.

Four Working Groups were established. Each of them discussed one of the following themes:

1 –Checks and balances;

2-Measures to support the change process and foster citizen’s confidence in change;

3- Governance;

4- Constitutional principles for a parliamentary monarchy.

These groups were organically formed through an online coordination effort, and were accessible to all through the platform basecamp.

Discussions within the Working Group: checks and balances identified two immediate objectives:

1-      To identify the causes behind the disconnect between the citizens’ needs and expectations and the agenda of the political intermediaries in charge of representing them.

2-      To propose solutions that will help tailor the political intermediary’s mission to the expectations and needs of citizens.

The expression ‘political intermediaries’ refers to: political parties; syndicates; the media; non-profit organizations; as well as labor organizations.

I/ The “checks and balances” Working Group: According to this group: The causes responsible for the deficits and shortcomings affecting the relationship between citizens and political intermediaries are noticed across external and internal levels:

1-      External level: The existence of a traditional pattern where political parties are unresponsive to the needs of citizens; the lack of reliable communication channels between the parties and the majority of citizens; the problem of information monopoly coupled with a pressure from the regime; and the atomization of political parties.

2-      Internal level: Social projects do not address community needs nor are they future-orientated. In addition, there is a lack of transparency as far as activities/decision making process and elections within political parties; the dependence on outdated management tools and structures are also clear limits.

Other limits were also identified: Weak monitoring and evaluation tools and networks; Inefficient or nonexistent communication tools as well as weak or inconsistent communication with the media

The group proposed tailored solutions to address each of the limits mentioned above. (These solutions along with recommendations from other Working Groups will be included in a separate document entitled “proposals for change.”).

II/The Working Group on “Urgent Measures to Support the Change Process and Foster Citizen’s Confidence in Change”

This group enumerated a few priority measures to implement in order to support the process of democratic change and foster citizen’s confidence. These measures concern 6 areas of intervention:

1-      The Consultative Commission for Constitutional revision:

The Group recommends establishing contact with the Constitutional Commission in order to address the following questions:

–          Besides listening to stakeholders, what is the agenda adopted by the Commission, and how does the revision process take place?

–          Will the Commission organize a national debate on the Constitutional project before presenting it to the King?

2-      The release of all political prisoners

The FCCD calls for :

–          The release of all political prisoners, and a general amnesty

–          The justice system must drop all suits against protesters arrested during the peaceful February 20th protests.

–          An investigation regarding the fate of those who disappeared must take place.

–          An investigation on the circumstances surrounding the death of 5 young people in El Hoceima and the young man killed in Sefrou.

3-      Respect of all forms of freedom of expression, including freedom of artistic expression

4-      Liberalizing the media and guaranteeing freedom of the press

5-      The end of impunity for economic, social and environmental crimes, and an end to abuse of power

6-      Reforming the electoral code and the law on public liberties.

III/Working Group on Governance:

According to this group, at least seven areas are in critical need for reform. The Group also outlined matching recommendations to address the identified limits. The areas targeted are:

–          Nominations

–          Monitoring tools

–          Management of public enterprises

–          Assessment of public policies

–          Conflicts of interests

–          Access to information

–          Outsourcing of public services

As far as monitoring tools, the group recommended among other measures: Strengthening the parliament’s monitoring role as well as supporting the Revenue Court’s independence. This can be achieved through providing the Court with the appropriate means to directly initiate criminal suits.  The Working Group also discussed the lack of transparency affecting public enterprises. At stake, is the predominant institutional confusion and management interferences that affect public enterprises relationship with a State that wears many hats: technical tutelage, stockholder, financial supervisor, and member of the board of administration. A list of appropriate recommendations to address these limits was enumerated in the FCCD’s report, and will be included in Part II of this note.

Last but not least:

IV/ The working group on the constitutional principles supporting a parliamentary monarchy:

Naturally, the feedback of this working group was highly anticipated. This group clarified that the ambition of the FCCD is not to draft a Constitutional project but rather to pinpoint the principles and values establishing the framework of the new Constitution. Thus, the Group proposed 4 basic pillars that must shape the framework for a democratic constitutional change:

  1. The people, citizens -women and men- are the source of sovereignty and all power.
  2.  A parliamentary monarchy
  3. The Moroccan identity is pluralistic and moderate.
  4. The prevention of abuse of power and rent-seeking and the respect of the principles of public service, solidarity and equal opportunity.

In addition, the FCCD proposed that the new constitution includes a preamble in the form of a Charter for Citizenship. The charter will:

–          Recognize the rights of citizens, women and men

–          Refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

–          Reaffirm the superiority of international treaties

These principles emphasize the basic conditions for a real democracy, and that: is people are the source of all legitimacy, sovereignty, and power. Thus, the new constitution must establish the following principles:

  • The constitution is the supreme law. Officials entrusted with the exercise of power must express their full allegiance to it.
  • The constitution is the supreme law. It prevails over laws adopted by the parliament, royal decrees and executive rules, and decisions.
  • The constitution guarantees the right for each and every citizen to question the constitutionality of laws, royal decrees as well as executive regulations.
  • The constitution is superior to customary law.
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