Here are some key dates in the reign of King Mohammed VI of Morocco, as the country prepares for legislative elections:
– Mohammed breaks with his father –
On July 23, 1999 Mohammed ascends the throne at age 35 on the death of his father Hassan II, who ruled for 38 years.
On July 30 the new king is crowned and gives his first speech, saying that he wants to fight the poverty which affects the majority of the Moroccan population.
The young monarch breaks with his father’s record of oppression by allowing the return from exile of historic opposition leader Abraham Serfaty and sacking his father’s all-powerful interior minister Driss Basri.
– Attacks in Casablanca, Marrakesh –
On May 16, 2003, a dozen suicide bombers kill 33 people and wound scores more in Casablanca. Most of the victims are Moroccan.
On May 27 the parliament adopts a anti-terrorism law which considerably strengthens judicial and police powers in the area.
In April, 2004, Mohammed announces religious reforms aiming to counter the rise of fundamentalist imams.
Nearly 8,000 Islamists are arrested after the attacks.
However, on April 28, 2011, a bomb attack on a cafe in Marrakesh leaves 17 dead, including foreign tourists.
– Islamist victory –
In February, 2011, against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, tens of thousands of Moroccans join marches to protest that the king’s reform efforts have not been enough, with human rights and development groups saying there needs to be more change.
On July 1, Moroccans vote massively at a referendum in favour of what Mohammed describes as a “comprehensive constitutional reform” which devolves many of the king’s powers to the prime minister and parliament, while preserving the king’s political and religious pre-eminence.
On November 25 the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) sweeps to victory in legislative elections, after decades in opposition, prompting comparisons with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
On September 24, 2016, campaigning begins for October 7 parliamentary polls that pit the PJD against the liberal opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM).
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