In a move that has stirred public criticism the government has handed further powers to the Palace. On 21 March the cabinet ratified Law No.17 of 2019 which gives the Ministerial Council, which is headed by King Mohammed VI, the authority to appoint senior posts in a greater number of public institutions.
This issue of who makes the senior appointments in the state bodies has long provoked controversy. In 2011 the amended constitution appeared to shift the balance more towards the government in this respect, thereby enabling them to take part in the decision-making process with the King. Article 49 of the 2011 constitution stipulates that appointments to key public institutions should be made by the Council of Ministers which comprises the government but is headed by the King.
However, this advance was hindered in 2012 when the then Prime Minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, gave up some of these constitutional rights through the introduction of Law No. 2 of 2012, which gives the King ultimate control over appointments in a set list of public institutions. Benkirane’s move prompted uproar at the time, with accusations that he was selling out on the gains made by the 2011 protests and handing power back to the Palace.
Now, however, the government has gone even further. With this latest law, it has added two more institutions to the list of those controlled by the King. These are the Caisse marocaine d’assurance maladie (CMAM) health insurance fund and the Al-Ithmar al-Mawarid sovereign wealth fund.
The ratification of this new law has sparked further public debate on the matter, with many activists demanding to know why the government has handed yet another constitutional right to the monarchy. The answer is unclear but it would appear that the Palace is putting huge pressure on the government and, in the circumstances, the government is unable to resist.
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