Former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane has rejected calls for a parliamentary monarchy in the country.
Benkirane – who is also former secretary-general of Morocco’s Justice and Development Party – made the comments on Sunday during a meeting with diaspora party members, saying: “If the parliamentary monarchy means a king who reigns and does not rule, I am against it.”
Speaking at his home in the Moroccan capital Rabat, Benkirane stressed that he had expressed his position on the matter “several times” before, claiming that Moroccans would not accept a “king who reigns and does not rule”.
He continued: “We want to develop, but in accordance with the King,” pointing out that power must remain in the king’s hands, while “the rest will be mandated and within the framework of consensus”. He stressed that “the ruler must have prestige,” warning that “Moroccans need to remain loyal to their king”.
Benkirane also revealed the relationship between the Justice and Development Party and King Mohammed VI, describing it as “a strategic relationship built on Islamic reference bases”.
Comparing Morocco’s situation to other Arab countries, Benkirane said that: “Morocco is the best Arab country,” adding that although there are wealthier Arab countries than Morocco, “they are not free and [are] undemocratic”. Benkirane also pointed out that other countries preceded Morocco in becoming democratic, pointing to Tunisia which he “highly respects” as the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
However, Benkirane also described Tunisia as “undisciplined,” referring to the tense situation that the country has witnessed since the so-called Jasmine Revolution. Benkirane added: “It is saddening when I go to Tunisia and find public strikes and garbage everywhere.”
He also expressed his surprise that some voices in Tunisia have been calling for “the dictator’s return,” referring to ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was overthrown by the Jasmine Revolution on 14 January 2011.