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Kingdom of Morocco

Morocco is located at the northwest of Africa. It is bordered in the north by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea; to the south by Mauritania; to the east by Algeria and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Moroccan coast extends over 3,500 km.

The Kingdom is composed of sixteen regions, the most important of which is the region of Casablanca. With a population of more than 3.6 millions inhabitants of whom only less than 150.000 are rurals, the region of Great Casablanca gathers 8 prefectures (Casablanca-Anfa, Aïn Sebaa-Hay Mohammadi, Aïn Chok-Hay Hassani, Ben Msik-Sidi Othmane, Al Fida-Derb Soltane-Al Mechouar of  Casablanca, Sidi Bernoussi-Zenata and Mohammedia).

Man was already roaming along the Atlantic shoreline, as far back as 800,000 BC, as is evidenced by artefacts unearthed in Casablanca – the most ancient finds ever discovered in North Africa. Towards 5000 BC, settlers from the Near East co-existed and intermixed with the indigenous inhabitants of Morocco. These newcomers were the ancestors of the Berbers, their numbers further increased through Mediterranean relations.

In the 1st quarter of 2005, the primary economy would suffer a 4,2 % loss due to rain shortage and anticipations of a decline in the next cereal harvest. A decrease of the annual GDP growth rate, estimated at 2,6 %, is also expected. On the other hand, non-agricultural sectors would progress by 3 %, resulting in a 1,9 % raise of  the GDP global growth.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI has announced a series of proposed changes to the country's constitution, including amendments that would reduce some of his political powers.

The changes, announced by the King in a live address to the nation, has been warmly received.

"We have managed to develop a new democratic constitutional charter," the King said, adding that the constitution "enshrines a citizenship-based monarchy".

The proposed amendments would provide for the strengthening of the authority of the country's prime minister and parliament.

The new constitution ensures that the prime minister is selected from the party that received the most votes in election, rather than just chosen by the King.

The reforms also strengthen Parliament, allowing it to launch investigations into officials with the support of just one-fifth of its members or to begin a censure motion against a minister with the backing of a third, rather than needing the unanimous approval demanded by the current constitution.

The judiciary, which has long been criticised for lacking independence, would be governed by a supreme council composed of judges and the head of the national human rights council. The justice minister would not be on the council.

"We encourage a parliamentary authority that is ready to make sure that parliament makes final legislative decisions," the King said. "This parliament has the ability to question any official in the country."


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