January 12

Kingdom of Morocco: the success story of the Arab world

For the better part of a decade this column has been arguing that the Kingdom of Morocco is one of the Arab world’s most liberal and successful states.

Indeed in a piece in the Australian Financial Review on 2 December 2003, I drew on the Moroccan example to say the Iraqis could do worse than return to being a constitutional monarchy, as they were in happier days.  

…monarchy gives Morocco stability….

Now the distinguished commentator on international affairs, Greg Sheridan has declared that the Kingdom of  Morocco is a success story in the Arab world.

In an outstanding piece in The Australian (8/1) , “Optimistic Morocco reaches out to the west,” Mr. Sheridan says that:

“…you get the feeling that if Morocco doesn't succeed, nowhere in the Arab world will. Its monarchy gives it stability.”

…King has enormous authority….

“With 35 million people, Morocco is the fourth-largest Arab nation, after Egypt, Sudan and Algeria. It has free elections and two houses of parliament.

“The King, Mohammed VI, whose portrait adorns every official building and many public places, retains, however, immense authority and executive power. Morocco's critics accuse it of arbitrary arrest and some censorship.


“Nonetheless, Morocco has a better claim to democratic practice than any of its neighbours in North Africa.

“ For all its social inequalities it has a history of political pluralism. It has a long culture to draw on and is a close friend of all the Western powers. Somehow, if moderation, tolerance and economic development don't work here, you wonder whether they will work anywhere in the Arab world.

..support for Australia…

Mohammed Cheikh Biadillah, the distinguished looking president of the House of Councillors, the Moroccan equivalent of the Senate, welcomed me and a small group of Australians into a lavish meeting room in the parliamentary building in Rabat.“Like every official I met in Morocco, he was very positive about Australia, but his opening remark contained a barb: "We are very happy to have an embassy in Canberra, and not to be represented from Jakarta, or from Paris.

" This was an obvious reference to Moroccan annoyance that Australia, which is always willing to lecture the Middle East about its failings, is happy to spend many tens of millions of dollars of aid there and even more in military deployments, yet has no embassy in Morocco, nor indeed in most of North Africa. Morocco is nonetheless supporting Australia's bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.”

constitutional monarchy again perform well…

This level of support for Australia is rare in the Arab world.
It is clear that constitutional monarchies are more likely to perform well in terms of health wealth and wealth than other systems of government.


[Continues below ]


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