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Morocco

Yearbook 1997

Morocco. According to Countryaah, a breakthrough in the negotiations on Western Sahara was made possible in the fall, especially through the former US Secretary of State James Baker's mediation. After Morocco and Polisario held direct talks at the top level for the first time in 22 years, the parties were able to agree on the procedure for an upcoming referendum on the issue. A crack question was who would vote, and after a compromise, 80,000 people agreed. A census was started in Western Sahara during the last month of the year and a period of disarmament and normalization began. The referendum is expected to take place in December 1998.

In the fall, two elections took place. In November, for the first time in Morocco's history, about 18 million went. Moroccans to cast their votes in direct elections to the second chamber, the House of Representatives. Over 3,000 candidates divided into 16 parties participated and the debate was characterized by the problems of high unemployment, a lack of education and a poor economy. In December, in the first elections, representatives were elected to the first chamber, the Advisory Assembly.

Before the elections, King Hassan restructured the government in order to de-politicize it. Four women were given positions in the government for the first time. For the first time, it was also Islamists were allowed to gather in public place and hold elections, which happened in November.

Former Zaire President Mobutu Sese Seko died in the fall of Rabat, where he was forced into exile.

1997 Morocco

Also in March, Africa Contact published a report documenting that Danish companies contribute to Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara. Sampension, AP Pension, Danske Bank, Nykredit and Nordea are among the 15 Danish pension companies and five Danish banks investing in companies that extract oil and gas and import phosphate from occupied Western Sahara. The report had no effect in Denmark, where Danish companies also supported the apartheid regime in South Africa through the 1970s and 80s. In April, a Norwegian pension company withdrew its investments from companies that worked in occupied territory.

Morocco, who had not been a member of the AU for decades due to its occupation of Western Sahara, filed an application for admission in September 2016. The country was admitted in January 2017.

The country's economic and social problems sparked protests in various parts of the country in October. The triggering factor was the killing of the authorities on fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri from Al Hoceima. The murder sent thousands on the streets in protest in the major cities, including Rabat and Marrakech as well as Al Hoceima. Slum dwellers clashed with police as authorities began tearing down houses in Sidi Bibi near Agadir. The protests only subsided after 4 days when authorities decided to target 11 people for the fishmonger's death.

Authorities continued the persecution of journalists and independent media. In January 2016, independent journalist Ali Anouzla was brought to trial, accused of "calling for terrorism". The prosecutor demanded 20 years in prison. Anouzla had referred to Western Sahara as occupied. The prosecution chose in May to drop the case.

Denmark is actively supporting the suppression of human rights in Morocco. In 2016-17, Dagbladet Information could reveal that the Danish Ministry of Business had granted export authorization for advanced monitoring equipment from the Nørresundby company BAE Systems Applied Intelligence. The permit was for exports to the dictatorial states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Morocco and Algeria. The advanced electronic equipment was used to monitor and persecute journalists, human rights activists and oppositionists. Even before the Arab Spring of 2011, BAE's predecessor, ETI, had provided monitoring equipment to the Ben Ali dictatorship in Tunisia. ( Theme series on Danish exports of monitoring technology, Information 2016-17)

In the October 2016 parliamentary elections, the ruling Islamist PJD went up to 18 seats to 125, but even greater progress was gained by the monarchist PAM, which passed 55 seats to 120. The turnout was 43%. For the next 5 months, Prime Minister and PJD leader Benkirane tried to put together a new majority government with the participation of the smaller parties in parliament, which for most had resigned. That was unsuccessful, and in March 2017 he was therefore fired by the king, who instead appointed PJD's Saadeddine Othmani to form government. A new government was presented in April. Benkirane then resigned from his seat in parliament.

 

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