The “Arab Spring” at the crossroads: where is Morocco heading to?
Public Lecture & Panel Discussion
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
In his lecture "The Arab Spring at the crossroads: where is Morocco heading to?" Aboubakr Jamai, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation, talked about Morocco´s way to democracy and the related obstacles and dynamics. Although there have been peaceful uprisings in the past the government did not change drastically compared to other countries in the region such as Tunisia and Egypt. Protesters demanded a political reform and a new constitution. The monarch's response to the protests since February 2011 was a reform of Morocco's constitution, which has however neither been implemented nor does it substantially restrict the monarch's dominance of the political system.
According to Aboubakr Jamai there have been uprisings in Morocco, Tunisia and also Algeria already in the 1980s and 1990s. What is different today is the people´s refusing attitude towards authoritarian regimes and the political system in general. In Morocco democratic dynamics had a positive impact in the 1990s but after 2000 the situation has been worse. Especially the economic power and political domination of King Mohammed VI. is a restricting factor for change. Aboubakr stated that the right consensus is necessary to make hard decisions and to bring through political reforms. What is needed mostly implementing strucutral reforms of the political institutions towards increased transparency, accountability and independence from the palace. Though, he is optimistic and sees a great potential of the youth that is contesting the regime itself by using new media to fight corruption locally.
Annabelle Houdret pointed to the importance of rural discontent in the current uprisings. She highlighted three main factors: persisting inequalities between urban and rural development and infrastructure; the increasing difficulties of the majority of the farmers to secure their livelihoods and to deal with growing scarcity of water and arable land; and the extremely low legitimacy of political leaders and public institutions, coupled to high corruption and monopolisation of water and land resources by powerful elite networks. The resulting socioeconomic difficulties and the lack of appropriate institutions for conflict resolution were among the key factors that need to be addressed in the current transition of the country.
The panel discussion also shed light on possible lessons learned from the transition towards democracy of Eastern European countries. In this context, Aboubakr stated that a main driver for success on the way to democracy was mobilisation to exert pressure on autocratic regimes. If this pressure could be maintained and a new alliance between established parties and more recent social movements - often mobilised by young activists - could be formed, true change towards democratisation could be achieved.
- Welcome: Imme Scholz, Deputy Director, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
- Public Lecture: Aboubakr Jamai The “Arab Spring” at the crossroads: where is Morocco heading to?
- Aboubakr Jamai, Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation
- Annabelle Houdret, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
- Matthias Ruchser (Moderator), German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
- Aboubakr Jamai Holder of the international Press Freedom Award 2003, editor of the Moroccan journal “Le Journal” until its forced closure in 2010 and currently Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow at the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin, will speak about recent reforms and persisting social mobilisation in Morocco.
- Annabelle Houdret Researcher at Department ‘Environmental Policy and Management of Natural Resources’ and with extensive work experience in Morocco and in the region, will point out how marginalisation of rural populations contribute to social unrest in the country.
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09.07.2013 / 14:30 - 18:00
German Development Institute /
Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)