National Day Message: Morocco
By Morocco’s Ambassador Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui
The celebration of the National Day of the Kingdom of Morocco marks the date of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI’s accession to the throne on 30 July 1999. It is a celebration steeped in ancestral tradition, which celebrates the pact between the Monarch and the People. This pact has been well respected and enshrined in the shared history of the Moroccan people and the Royal Alaouite dynasty for close to four centuries.
Morocco’s Throne Day is marked, every year, by our very own King’s Speech, where His Majesty reflects on the year’s positive highlights, as well as openly addressing any challenges that may lie ahead.
This year, we celebrate our Sovereign’s 16 years of reign, marked by a longstanding process of peaceful and evolutionary reforms initiated more than two decades ago. His Majesty King Mohammed VI has consolidated, accelerated and broadened political, economic and social reforms begun by his late father, HM King Hassan II, to improve the lives of individual citizens and empower the institutions that represent them. These reforms are the key to Morocco’s current political stability and economic growth.
HM King Mohammed VI is firmly committed to this continuous path of democratisation, noting that Morocco’s “strength lies in the democratic system we have opted for as an irreversible choice which, coupled with a proactive, committed diplomacy, involving parliament, political parties, trade unions and civil society, will help us in the defence of our just cause.”
Toward this end, HM King Mohammed VI has developed dedicated initiatives to promote citizen participation in politics and decentralisation, human rights, gender equality and equitable human development.
Under HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco has held a series of free and fair parliamentary and local elections. Morocco is currently in the initial stage of a new regionalisation process to devolve power to local and regional elected officials, bringing decision-making closer to local communities.
The Equity and Reconciliation Commission was created to identify and redress past human rights abuses. Based on this Commission’s recommendations, an autonomous national human rights council has been established to protect civil and human rights, with broad powers to investigate human rights issues and recommend new laws, such as the 2013 policy improving migrant protection and 2014 military justice reform that excludes civilians from military trial.
Morocco’s family code has been reformed to give women equal standing with men. Mandatory quotas have been set for the inclusion of women in national and local elections.
The National Human Development Initiative was established to build sustainable futures for Morocco’s most disadvantaged communities. Hallmark initiatives include sustained efforts to fight illiteracy in order to promote economic and political progress.
All these far-reaching reforms have been enshrined by the 2011 Constitution, voted for overwhelmingly by Moroccans and which consecrated the Kingdom’s reformist path by establishing a constitutional monarchy with separation of powers, enhanced responsibilities for local and regional governments, and clear support for the multicultural, multi-religious character of Moroccan society.
Morocco’s commitment to democratic progress and peaceful change has equally extended beyond its borders. At the diplomatic level, HM King Mohammed VI has sought to strengthen Morocco’s historic alliances, including with the UK, and has significantly deepened Morocco’s ties in Africa and the Middle East to promote security, stability, economic development and religious tolerance in the region.
These core values are indeed at the heart of the growing bilateral relationship between Morocco and the UK, building on 800 years of shared history and cooperation. Moroccan-British ties of friendship and exchange have significantly deepened in many fields, highlighted by a common commitment to peace, democracy and prosperity, and to advance regional security and development. This joint ambition of a more diverse and strategic partnership is not a new direction, but one seeking to develop and build on the significant efforts initiated over the past few years in the aim of forging new perspectives for our age-old alliance.
It is an alliance whose strength lies in harnessing the wealth of our longstanding ties to establish a new, forward-looking partnership for wider international engagement and success. The rapid change of pace in the twenty-first century imposes new risks and challenges, but it also offers vast new opportunities for our two countries that we are keen to seize for the mutual benefit our people.
It is therefore with utmost confidence in the leadership and vision of His Majesty the King that Moroccans look to build a brighter, more prosperous future for its next generations that may honour the vibrant legacy of our traditional alliances and our country’s constant openness to the outside world.
Morocco’s Throne Day is both an intense moment of national pride and a celebration of an integral part of our Moroccan identity, whereby Morocco has always stood as a bridge between people and cultures, tradition and modernity, as well as a gateway for dialogue and exchange. This is what characterises our past and what will continue to inspire our country’s future commitments with Great Britain and all its longstanding regional partners and international allies.
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