Oct.10.2008. Full speech of king Mohammed VI at opening of parliament fall session> 09/10/2008
Here follows the full speech of king Mohammed VI before parliament at the opening of the fall parliament session:
Praise be to God
Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Members of Parliament,
The opening of Parliament is an opportunity for regular consultation and interaction with the nation’s representatives on the major issues facing the country.
This new parliamentary year will be marked by important national elections. Some of them will be of particular interest to you over the short term as they will involve a series of elections to renew a third of the seats in the House of Councillors.
More importantly, the forthcoming elections will reveal the new composition of local governments. Not only are local governments the cornerstone of democracy, but they also play a pivotal role in the implementation of development programs.
Anyone who believes in the values of patriotism and seeks to further enhance the credibility and fairness of the electoral process ought to view the next elections as an opportunity to promote both democracy and development. This is an exercise which requires open competition on the basis of clear-cut electoral platforms, a collective commitment to public interest and outright rejection of cheap politicking for which there is no longer a place in today’s Morocco.
I am keen to involve the nation’s productive and experienced human resources in the task of defining and formulating the country’s basic development policies.
My decision to set up the Economic and Social Council is in line with our standard policy to press ahead with comprehensive institutional reform.
I hope the setting up of this development-oriented constitutional body will boost national advisory institutions which have proved their efficiency and credibility in both the political and legal domains.
The coming elections will revolve around the ways and means of winning the battle of development. That does not mean, however, that we should strip elections of their democratic essence or believe the prophets of doom, who like to talk about the ‘end of politics’.
Certainly not. I have always underlined the need to strengthen political action which is based on the responsible participation of dependable political parties in the management of public affairs, in light of election results.
Such an objective requires broader participation by all segments of the population, especially our youth, so that they may contribute their energies and voice their ambitions, not only with respect to selecting their representatives in a responsible manner, but also by shouldering the responsibility of running local affairs, which is the pillar of good governance.
To this end, I ask the government to take the necessary measures to lower the legal age at which an individual is entitled to stand as a candidate in local government elections from 23 to 21 years.
Similarly, I call on both the government and Parliament to co-operate effectively in order to suggest efficient mechanisms for ensuring that a greater number of women stand as candidates and are elected to local councils.
My objective is to make sure women are fairly represented in local governments, and to enable local councils to benefit from the contributions of competent Moroccan women who are known for their integrity, pragmatism and concern for social well-being.
I am sure you realize that local government elections are the litmus test of the citizen’s trust in representative institutions. Indeed, local councils are responsible for matters which have a direct bearing on the citizens’ basic needs and their daily lives.
The parties and stakeholders involved must therefore do all they can to make sure the next elections are geared towards promoting development, and do not merely serve as a political battleground.
The true test of the coming elections consists, in fact, in winning the challenge of competition, one which is based on a multi-party system whose components compete with one another and propose clear-cut development programs, rather than a formal multi-party system, offering a large number of candidates, party colours and emblems, but no characteristic features which enable voters to draw a qualitative distinction between basic choices and programs.
I am determined to give substance to the collective will of the people so that there may be fair competition between all the parties, institutions and candidates concerned, without distinction. To this end, all political institutions and parties – be they government or opposition parties – will be informed of the election date so that they may start campaigning on an equal footing.
Accordingly, I hereby announce that elections to local urban and rural councils will be held on 12 June 2009.
I therefore expect the main political parties to take advantage of the time remaining till the election date to develop programs for integrated local development and to select competent candidates who can implement those programs honestly and efficiently.
I also urge all people, local governments, institutions and authorities concerned to uphold the law with resolve and impartiality, and to fulfil their duties with regard to guaranteeing equality of political parties and citizens before the law.
Honourable Members of Parliament,
As you know, the coming elections do not concern only political parties and local governments; other institutions are also concerned. The nation’s Constitution has entrusted those institutions with the mission of leading and representing the citizens. I am referring to unions and professional and trade associations which must be supported to enable them to play their role with regard to fostering a productive economy and building a society based on solidarity.
I should like this council to be set up as soon as possible and I therefore invite the government to prepare the organic law for its constitution and to submit it to Parliament before the end of the current session.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Building a state which upholds the rule of law and seeks to moralize public life – an objective to which I am deeply committed – is part of a comprehensive approach which does not stop at administrative and political measures or elections. It is an approach which also covers the all-important sector involving the safety and transparency of economic transactions.
Good governance cannot be restricted to the legal and political domains. The economic field is also concerned.
I therefore consider that across-the-board moralization of public life is a pre-requisite for the consolidation of the rule of law in the business sector. This means we have to strengthen the mechanisms needed to guarantee fair competition, protect the market against monopoly and rent-seeking, prevent wrongdoing and take action against those who resort to corrupt practices.
This is the reason why I was keen to set up the Competition Council as well as the Central Agency for the Prevention of Corruption. I also encouraged the adoption of laws and mechanisms to protect free enterprise and ensure fair competition.
In this respect, I urge all the institutions concerned to carry out their duties in full, with the required integrity and resolve to preserve public interest. I expect these institutions to exert moral authority, serve as powerhouses for making constructive suggestions and build on the competence of their members to participate in the nation’s efforts to fight all forms of corruption as well as all practices which violate the law or which are inconsistent with our moral standards.
Although it affects all societies, the plague of corruption should not be viewed as an inescapable destiny. In fact, it is high time we tackled its destructive effects. This plague impedes progress, violates the law and is inconsistent with the principles of citizenship as well as with religious teachings.
Everyone is therefore expected to fight it: individuals, communities, public authorities and institutions. They must all show utmost resolve to uphold the rule of law and make sure the mechanisms of control, investigation and accountability are properly enforced and that punitive sanctions are applied.
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Our country is confronted with domestic challenges which I have sought to address through in-depth reforms and major national and local development projects. This approach requires strong participation on your part in the national reform process. Its success requires sophisticated legislation, efficient control mechanisms and effective supervision of voters.
Morocco also faces external challenges at regional, Maghreb and Sahel levels. In addition to that, it has to deal with international challenges, security risks, development demands and the requirements of globalization.
These challenges and constraints can be faced only if we remain committed to our strategic policy, which is based on national mobilization, regional integration as well as an open attitude towards the chances and opportunities offered by the international changes affecting the world around us.
This means you should not focus your attention exclusively on domestic affairs - particularly electoral concerns - however important they may be.
National duty requires, today more than ever before, that you strive doubly hard to enhance Morocco’s standing and influence in regional and international institutions in which parliaments are important players. Your chief objective should be to defend the nation’s causes, particularly by securing further support for the issue of our territorial integrity, which is our foremost priority.
Our democratic achievements are a great asset of which you should be able to make the best use by engaging in efficient parliamentary diplomacy that supports and consolidates governmental action.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my firm desire to reinvigorate the role of the nation’s institutions so that they may contribute more effectively to the implementation of our basic strategies and enforce the principles of participatory democracy. The latter means so much to me because it targets the achievement of development while enhancing the values of citizenship.
I will therefore see to it Morocco remains committed to this approach so that we may accomplish even more, enhance our unity and the nation’s stability and achieve progress and prosperity. To this end, we will continue to encourage constructive initiatives and create the conditions needed for rural development and for accelerating its pace. My objective is to revamp our institutions through good governance, increase economic productivity and enhance solidarity so that my loyal subjects - especially the needy - may enjoy full-fledged citizenship and a dignified life.
Although it holds much promise, the current juncture is also marked by several difficulties and constraints. Nevertheless, it provides a unique opportunity for building a modern nation and for taking action so that reform and development may proceed as quickly and as smoothly as possible. For this to happen, the nation’s resources, who are the life blood of the nation, ought to make the most of the opportunities at hand.
Everyone is therefore called upon to work hard so that we may be ready for a date with history. We must all live up to our responsibilities and commit to true citizenship in order to rise to domestic and foreign challenges. The best way for achieving this objective is by mustering all energies and revitalizing our institutions.
May the Almighty help us in our endeavours. Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.