Morocco’s success in balancing its monarchy with democracy has firmly planted a seed of full-fledged democracy and built a basis for a new stage of economic development, said the country’s senior legislator, who is currently visiting Tokyo.
Abdelwahed RADI, President of Morocco’s House of Representatives, is on a weeklong visit at the invitation of House of Representatives Speaker Soichiro Ito. The idea is to strengthen legislative-level ties between Tokyo and Rabat.
During his stay, RADI, 63, a former professor of social psychology and a national assembly member for 36 years, is scheduled to discuss bilateral issues in his meetings with senior officials of the government and various political parties, he said in an interview Monday. “We are making efforts to introduce diversity in politics, respect human rights and observe the rule of law,” said RADI, who spells his name in all capital letters. “I can say that in Morocco, democracy is functioning steadily.”
Morocco, a former French protectorate until 1956, decided to revise its constitution and divide the national assembly into two chambers in a 1996 referendum that was part of its democratization efforts.
The opposition’s progress in the first elections for both houses in 1997 led to the current coalition government headed by Prime Minister Abderrahmane El Youssoufi. “What was proven in the 1997 elections was that opposition parties equally have a chance to win the majority of the seats,” RADI said. “Political diversity was what the public had long waited for.”
Although Morocco maintains a constitutional monarchy, RADI defends “democracy Morocco’s way,” arguing that King Hassan II is the nation’s spiritual center as well as its political leader. “Morocco’s monarchy was a good, time-tested political system and functioned well in our battle against France,” RADI said. “At the same time, however, we were aware of the need to introduce a more democratic system to reflect people’s voice in national politics.”
Meanwhile, RADI argues that a series of recent democratic reforms will surely provide new business opportunities in Morocco for industrialized nations. “A new era of politics must be accompanied with a new stage of economic development,” he said. “We must resolve the pending issue of unemployment by boosting capital investment from abroad.”
Currently, the trade between Tokyo and Rabat focuses mainly on marine products. Of Japan’s imports of squids and octopuses, nearly 40 percent are from the Mediterranean state, according to ministry officials.