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After widespread public protests calling for greater power sharing and an end to corruption swept Morocco in 2011, King Mohammed VI proposed a revised constitution that was approved by referendum. Subsequent early parliamentary elections brought to power a new governing coalition. Although the monarchy still controls the key levers of power, the new constitution expanded the parliament’s influence and made important commitments to gender parity in government.

In 2016, Morocco held general elections for only the second time since the referendum was passed, serving as an opportunity for Moroccan citizens to express their assessments of parties’ performance since the expansion of their governing responsibilities. Despite the heightened significance of the election, voter turnout was only at 43 percent, underscoring the widespread public disenchantment with politics and formal electoral processes. These elections ushered in a new prime minister and government coalition in 2017, which remain in place today. 

In spite of the new governing structures, Moroccan citizens, particularly youth, consistently resort to street protests or boycott efforts to express their socioeconomic grievances and political disillusionment. Tensions within the country have recently been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 1997, NDI has helped its partners to strengthen democratic institutions in Morocco with programs that improve the responsiveness of political parties and members of parliament (MPs), strengthen electoral processes, encourage citizen engagement in government, and expand political participation for women and youth. Currently, NDI works with civil society organizations to support their efforts to advocate for citizen concerns, monitor and assist in implementation of open government reforms, and collaborate with decision makers on open government projects. NDI also works with subnational government officials and citizen consultative bodies to strengthen regional governance. Ahead of Morocco’s planned 2021 regional and legislative elections, NDI is offering resources and training to political parties in order to enhance their youth outreach and include youth priorities in party platforms. 

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