From the 1960s to the 1990s
On the international level, the Kingdom, which had maintained strong ties with France and the USA, pursued the nationalist idea of the Great Morocco advancing claims on Mauritania, as well as on territories in southwestern Algeria and the Spanish Sahara. Inside, the difficult economic situation and widespread unemployment caused a growing tension and the explosion of unrest in the first half of 1965, the king responded with the proclamation of a state of emergency; the tension increased in October of the same year when Morocco Ben Barka, leader of the Union nationale des forces populaires (UNFP), was kidnapped and allegedly assassinated in France. Morocco abandoned all claims on Mauritania in 1969 and reached an agreement on borders with Algeria in 1970. Internally, a new Constitution was approved in July 1970, while the state of emergency was withdrawn. In 1971 and 1972 there were two unsuccessful attacks on the king by members of the armed forces, and in 1972 a new constitution was approved.
It was on foreign policy issues that a unitary climate within the country was established in the following years (military intervention in the 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict, claiming of the Spanish Sahara). In 1975 an agreement established the Spanish withdrawal and the transfer of the Spanish Sahara, renamed Western Sahara, to a joint authority of Morocco and Mauritania. Algeria strongly opposed and strengthened its support for the liberation movement of the Sahrawi people organized in the Frente Polisario (Frente popular para la liberacion de Saguia el-Hamra y Rio de Oro), while the latter opposed the ongoing Moroccan occupation. In 1976 the Republic was proclaimed into exileDemocratic Saharan Arab (RASD), while Morocco and Mauritania agreed on the division of the territory. In 1979, Mauritania signed a peace treaty with the Frente Polisario and Morocco declared the sector previously attributed to Mauritania its own province, causing an intensification of the clashes.
The uncompromising stance of Morocco resulted in 1984 with his exit from the Organization de Unità africaine (OUA), while Ḥasan II’s meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister S. Peres (July 1986) increased the isolation of Morocco. among the Arab countries. During the second half of the decade, Morocco gradually emerged from isolation at the regional level (Union of the Arab al-Maghrib, established in 1989 by Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia).
Internally, the war effort aggravated economic conditions. The government-backed liberal policy created further tensions. Moroccan participation in the US-led multinational force in the war against Iraq (1991) also sparked popular protests. Strikes and riots were repeated in the early 1990s, as Islamic fundamentalism acquired a growing role. The implementation of a peace plan for Western Sahara, adopted in 1991 by the UN Security Council, clashed with the intransigent attitude of Morocco, and the self-determination referendum scheduled for January 1992 was postponed several times. Traditionally close to Western countries, Morocco was the second Arab country, after Egypt, to establish direct relations with Israel in 1994.
In 1996, constitutional amendments were approved in a referendum which provided for the creation of a bicameral Parliament with greater powers of control over the executive. In March 1998, the socialist A. Yūsufī was called to head the first center-left coalition government of Morocco, which concretized political alternation and a moderate renewal in the ruling class, engaging in a reform program that included more expenses for the health and education, showing in general a greater sensitivity and attention to human rights in an attempt to mitigate the traditional authoritarianism of the regime.
In 1999, Muḥamad VI ascended the throne. The first months of his reign were characterized by symbolic gestures that seemed to indicate a certain political liberalization of the regime (amnesty decree for political prisoners, return of dissidents to their homeland, etc.). The great impact of Islamists in Moroccan society manifested itself on several occasions in the spring of 2000, when several hundreds of thousands of militants took to the streets against the government proposal to reform one of the most backward statutes in the Arab world in favor of women. Between the end of 2001 and the first months of 2002, while protests against Israel were growing in the country, the positions of the monarchy towards the demands of the Frente Polisario stiffened again. For Morocco history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.
After the attacks of 11 September 2001, Morocco gave his support to the American strategy of struggle against Islamic fundamentalism. In May 2003 there were very serious suicide attacks in Casablanca, which caused dozens of victims and fueled the fear of a tourism crisis, a key factor in the national economy. The authorities responded with a repressive squeeze, which seemed to cast doubt on the reform course of the new sovereign. In any case, the liberalization policy was continued in order to encourage foreign investment and social assistance centers were opened in the poorest areas. Furthermore, the investigations of the commission appointed to ascertain the violations of human rights that occurred during the long reign of Ḥasan II continued. There were still new tensions with Spain around the disputed island of Perejil and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla; the fact that the latter have become a crossing point for many migrants who try to reach Africa from sub-Saharan Africa Europe has contributed to making relations between Rabat and Madrid more difficult. Even the long-standing dispute over the structure of Western Sahara has remained unresolved: in 2007 the last attempt at a meeting between the Moroccan government and the Frente Polisario failed.
In the context of internal politics, in order to mitigate the climate of tension which – in the wake of popular protests that have agitated many countries in North Africa and the Middle East – since February 2011 has organized itself into a youth political movement supported by exponents of the Unified Socialist Party, Muḥamad VI has called a referendum to transfer part of its absolute powers to Parliament, government and justice and to give Berber, a culture to which the majority of the residents of the country belongs, the status of official language alongside to Arabic. The results of the consultation, held in July of the same year, recorded an overwhelming victory of consensus, but the dissident forces consider the constitutional reform completely inadequate to limit the powers of the monarchical regime and to lead the country towards democracy. In the political elections held in November of the same year, although with a very high percentage of abstentions (only 45% of those with voting rights went to the polls), the Justice and Development party reached the parliamentary majority for the first time: the Moderate Muslims thus obtained 107 seats out of 395, and King Muḥamad VI appointed his leader A. Benkirane as the new premier, who formed coalition agreements with political parties to seek political stability and the promotion of reforms useful for the socio-economic development of the country. The administrative consultations held in
In January 2017 the country was readmitted, at the request of the government of Rabat, into the African Union, which in 2002 replaced the OAU from which the country had left in 1984, after recognition by the international organization of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, considered by Morocco to be part of its territory.