Mohammed VI of Morocco

Mohammed VI is the current King of Morocco.

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Country of ResidenceMorocco
Date of Birth1963-08-21
EthnicityMoroccans
GenderMale
NationalityMorocco
Place Of BirthRabat
ReligionIslam
ReligionSunni Islam
TitleHead of State

Mohammed VI (Arabic: محمد السادس‎, born 21 August 1963)[1] is the current King of Morocco. He acceded to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan II.[2]

Biography

Early life and education

Mohammed was the second child and oldest son of Hassan II and his wife Lalla Latifa Hammou. On the day of his birth, Mohammed was appointed Heir Apparent and Crown Prince.[3] His father was keen on giving him a religious and political education from an early age—at the age of four, he started attending the Qur'anic school at the Royal Palace.[1]

Mohammed completed his primary and secondary studies at Royal College[which?] and attained his Baccalaureate in 1981, before gaining a bachelor's degree in law at the Mohammed V University at Agdal in 1985. His research paper dealt with "the Arab-African Union and the Strategy of the Kingdom of Morocco in matters of International Relations".[1] He has also frequented the Imperial College and University of Rabat.[3] Also in 1985, he was appointed President of the Pan Arab Games, and was commissioned a Colonel Major[clarification needed] of the Royal Moroccan Army on 26 November. He served as the Coordinator of the Offices and Services of the Royal Armed Forces until 1994.[3]

In 1987, Mohammed obtained his first Certificat d'Études Supérieures (CES) in political sciences, and in July 1988 he obtained a Diplôme d'Études Approfondies (DEA) in public law.[1] In November 1988, he trained in Brussels with Jacques Delors, then-President of the European Commission.[1]

Mohammed obtained his PhD in law with distinction on 29 October 1993 from the French University of Nice Sophia Antipolis for his thesis on "EEC-Maghreb Relations".[1] On 12 July 1994, he was promoted to the military rank of Major General, and that same year he became President of the High Council of Culture and Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Moroccan Army.

Reign



Mohammed VI (right) talking to US President George W. Bush in Washington on 23 April 2002.

On 23 July 1999, Mohammed succeeded his father as king, being enthroned in Rabat on 30 July.[3]

Social reforms and liberalization

Shortly after he took the throne, Mohammed VI addressed his nation via television, promising to take on poverty and corruption, while creating jobs and improving Morocco's human rights record. Mohammed's reformist rhetoric was opposed by Islamist conservatives, and some of his reforms have angered fundamentalists. In February 2004, he enacted a new family code, or Mudawana, which granted women more power.[4]

Mohammed also created the so-called Instance Equité et Réconciliation (IER), which was tasked with researching human rights violations under Hassan II. This move was welcomed by many as promoting democracy, but was also criticized because reports of human rights violations could not name the perpetrators. According to human rights organisations, widespread abuses still exist in Morocco.[5][6][7] The 2011 Moroccan protests were motivated by corruption and general political discontentment, as well as by the hardships of the global economic crisis.

In December 2010, the whistleblowing website Wikileaks published diplomatic cables which alleged high-level corruption involving the King himself.[8]

In a speech delivered on 9 March 2011, the King said that parliament would receive "new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission". In addition, the powers of the judiciary were granted greater independence from the King, who announced that he was impaneling a committee of legal scholars to produce a draft constitution by June 2011.[9] On 1 July, voters approved a set of political reforms proposed by Mohammed. The reforms consisted of the following:[10]

  • The Berber language (Amazigh language)[11] is an official state language along with Arabic.[12]
  • The state preserves and protects the Hassānīya language and all the linguistic components of the Moroccan culture as a heritage of the nation[12]
  • The King has now the obligation to appoint the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in the parliamentary elections, but it could be any member of the winning party and not necessarily the party's leader. Previously, the king could nominate anybody he wants for this position regardless of the election results. That was usually the case when no party had a big advantage over the other parties, in terms of the number of seats in the parliament.[10][13][14]
  • The King is no longer "sacred or holy" but the "integrity of his person" is "inviolable"[15]
  • High administrative and diplomatic posts (including ambassadors, CEOs of state-owned companies, provincial and regional governors), are now appointed by the prime minister and the ministerial council which is presided by the king, previously the latter exclusively held this power.[16][17]
  • The prime minister is the head of government and president of the council of government, he has the power to dissolve the parliament.[18]



Mohammed VI (left) with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2004.

  • The prime minister will preside over the Council of Government, which prepares the general policy of the state. Previously the king held this position.[18]
  • The parliament has the power of granting amnesty. Previously this was exclusively held by the king[19]
  • The judiciary system is independent from the legislative and executive branch, the king guarantees this independence[18][20]
  • Women are guaranteed "civic and social" equality with men. Previously, only "political equality" was guaranteed, though the 1996 constitution grants all citizens equality in terms of rights before the law[14]



Mohammed VI inaugurating a road in El Jabha-Tetouan on 6 September 2007.

  • The King retained complete control over the armed forces, foreign policy and the judiciary;[21] authority for choosing and dismissing prime ministers[22] and he would retain control of matters pertaining to religion.
  • All citizens have the freedom of: thought, ideas, artistic expression and creation. Previously only free-speech and the freedom of circulation and association were guaranteed.[14][23] However, criticizing or directly opposing the king is still punishable with prison.

Mohammed VI and his family hold stock in the Omnium Nord Africain (ONA Group), a holding company with a diverse portfolio (mining, food processing, retail and financial services, etc.). Mohammed is estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth $2.5 billion, and the Moroccan Royal Family has one of the largest fortunes in the world. His palace's daily operating budget is reported by Forbes to be $960,000, owing much of it to the expense of personnel, clothes, and car repairs.[24]

Royal involvement in business is a hot topic in Morocco but public discussion of it is sensitive. The US embassy in Rabat reported to Washington in a separate cable that "corruption is prevalent at all levels of Moroccan society".[8]

Corruption allegedly reaches the highest levels in Morocco, where the business interests of King Mohammed VI and some of his advisors influence 'every large housing project,' according to WikiLeaks documents quoted by Britain's Guardian newspaper.[25] The documents released by the whistleblower website also quote the case of a businessman working for a US consortium, whose plans in Morocco were paralysed for months after he refused to join forces with a company linked with the royal palace. Decisions on big investments in the kingdom were taken by only three people, the documents quote one of the executives of a company belonging to the royal family as saying.

The three are the king, his secretary Mounir Majidi, and the monarch's close friend, the politician Fouad Ali Himma, the executive said at a meeting with potential investors in a Gulf country. The corruption affects especially the housing sector, the WikiLeaks documents show.[26]

Family

Mohammed VI has one brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, and three sisters: Princess Lalla Meryem, Princess Lalla Asma, and Princess Lalla Hasna. On 21 March 2002,[3] Mohammed married Salma Bennani (now H.R.H. Princess Lalla Salma) in Rabat. Bennani was granted the personal title of Princess with the style of Her Royal Highness on her marriage. They have two children—Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, who was born on 8 May 2003, and Princess Lalla Khadija, who was born on 28 February 2007.[4]

Titles, honours and styles

The official style of the King is "His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, may God grant him victory" (صاحب الجلالة الملك محمد السادس أمير المؤمنين نصره الله Ṣāḥib al-Jalālah al-Malik Muḥammad al-Sādis, 'Amīr al-Mu'minīn, Naṣṣarahu-Illāh). When he is executing his duty as head of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, he is generally referred to as the "Commander-in-Chief."

Honours and decorations

Mohammed VI has received numerous honours and decorations from various countries, some of which are listed below.

  • Grand Officer of the Order of the Equatorial Star of Gabon (7 July 1977)
  • Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (27 October 1980)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan (7 March 1987)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia (August 1987)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic of Italy (18 March 1997) with Collar (11 April 2000)
  • Collar of the Order of al-Hussein bin Ali of Jordan (March 2000)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of the Seventh of November of Tunisia (May 2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of France (19 March 2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of National Merit of Mauritania (April 2000)
  • Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali of Mali with Collar (14 June 2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic of Spain with Collar (16 September 2000)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Oumayid of Syria (9 April 2001)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Merit (Lebanon) Special Class (13 June 2001)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Abu Bakar Siddiq of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (29 June 2001)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of al-Khalifa of Bahrain (28 July 2001)
  • Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great of Kuwait (22 October 2002)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Independence of Qatar (25 October 2002)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile of Egypt (28 October 2002)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Pakistan First Class (Nishan-e-Pakistan) of Pakistan (19 July 2003)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Valour of Cameroon (17 June 2004)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Equatorial Star of Gabon (21 June 2004)
  • Grand Cross of the National Order of the Niger of the Niger (24 June 2004)
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold I of Belgium (5 October 2004)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross of Brazil (26 November 2004)
  • Medal of Honour of the Congress of Peru of Peru (1 December 2004)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins of Chile (3 December 2004)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of the Liberator General San Martin of Argentina (7 December 2004)
  • Grand Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle of Mexico (11 February 2005)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Burkinabé of Burkina Faso (1 March 2005)
  • Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum of Japan (28 November 2005)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Republic of The Gambia (20 February 2006)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Congo of the Congo-Brazzaville (22 February 2006)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the National Heroes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo of Congo-Kinshasa (28 February 2006)
  • Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars of Latvia (14 May 2007)

On 22 June 2000, Mohammed received an honorary degree (doctor honoris causa) from George Washington University for his promotion of democracy in Morocco.

References

  1. "King Mohammed Ben Al-Hassan". Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco. http://dcusa.themoroccanembassy.com/moroccan_embassy_political_system_the_king.aspx. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  2. "World: Africa Mohammed VI takes Moroccan throne". BBC News. 24 July 1999. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/402712.stm. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  3. MOROCCO14. Royalark.net. Retrieved on 4 March 2012.
  4. "Morocco country profile". BBC News. 16 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/country_profiles/791867.stm. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  5. MacFarquhar, Neil (1 October 2005). "In Morocco, a Rights Movement, at the King's Pace". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/01/international/africa/01morocco.html?pagewanted=print. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  6. Harter, Pascale (19 April 2005). "Facing up to Morocco's hidden fear". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/4457267.stm. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  7. "Morocco/Western Sahara: Amnesty International welcomes public hearings into past violations". Amnesty International. http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?lang=e&id=80256DD400782B8480256F6A003CF643. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
  8. Black, Ian (6 December 2010). "WikiLeaks cables accuse Moroccan royals of corruption". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/06/wikileaks-cables-morocco-royals-corruption. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  9. Mohammed VI speech. Moroccansforchange.com (9 March 2011). Retrieved on 4 March 2012.
  10. BBC News, 29 June 2011, "Q&A: Morocco's referendum on reform" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13964550
  11. A standardized version of the 3 native Berber dialects of Morocco: Tashelhit, Central Atlas Tamazight and Tarifit.
  12. Article 5 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  13. Article 47 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  14. 1996 Moroccan constitution
  15. Article 46 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  16. Article 91 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  17. Article 49 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  18. AFP. "Maroc: la réforme constitutionnelle préconise de limiter certains pouvoirs du roi". Parisien. http://www.leparisien.fr/flash-actualite-monde/maroc-la-reforme-constitutionnelle-preconise-de-limiter-certains-pouvoirs-du-roi-17-06-2011-1498052.php. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  19. Article 71 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  20. Article 107 of the 2011 Moroccan constitution
  21. Voice of America, July 30, 2011 "Moroccan King Calls for Prompt Parliamentary Elections" http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Moroccan-King-Calls-for-Prompt-Parliamentary-Elections-126457118.html
  22. Canada Free Press, August 18, 2011 "Arab Royal Houses Seek Affordable Medicines" http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/39565
  23. Driss Bennani, Mohammed Boudarham and Fahd Iraqi. "nouvelle constitution. plus roi que jamais". Telquel. http://www.telquel-online.com/479/couverture_479.shtml. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
  24. Pendleton, Devon; Serafin, Tatiana (30 August 2007). "In Pictures: The World's Richest Royals". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/2007/08/30/worlds-richest-royals-biz-royals07-cx_lk_0830royalintro_slide_8.html?thisSpeed=30000.
  25. "US embassy cables: Moroccan sacking exposes king's business role". Guardian. 6 December 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/151131.
  26. "US embassy cables: Moroccan businessman reveals royal corruption, claims US cable". Guardian. 6 December 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/239525.