Geographic and Governmental Profile of Morocco

Background
In 788, about a century after the Arab conquest of North Africa, a series of Moroccan Muslim dynasties began to rule in Morocco. In the 16th century, the Sa'adi monarchy, particularly under Ahmad AL-MANSUR (1578-1603), repelled foreign invaders and inaugurated a golden age. The Alaouite dynasty, to which the current Moroccan royal family belongs, dates from the 17th century. In 1860, Spain occupied northern Morocco and ushered in a half century of trade rivalry among European powers that saw Morocco's sovereignty steadily erode; in 1912, the French imposed a protectorate over the country. A protracted independence struggle with France ended successfully in 1956. The internationalized city of Tangier and most Spanish possessions were turned over to the new country that same year. Sultan MOHAMMED V, the current monarch's grandfather, organized the new state as a constitutional monarchy and in 1957 assumed the title of king. Morocco annexed Western Sahara during the late 1970s, but final resolution on the status of the territory remains unresolved. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, which first met in 1997. Under King MOHAMMED VI - who in 1999 succeeded his father to the throne - human rights have improved. Morocco enjoys a moderately free press, but the government has taken action against journalists who they perceive to be challenging the monarchy, Islam, and the status of Western Sahara. Influenced by protests elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, in February 2011 thousands of Moroccans began weekly rallies in multiple cities across the country to demand greater democracy and a crackdown on government corruption. Police response to most of the protests was subdued compared to the violence elsewhere in the region. A commission set up in March 2011 presented a draft constitution that was passed by popular referendum in July 2011. Under the new constitution, some new powers were extended to parliament and the prime minister, but ultimate authority remained in the hands of the monarch. That same month, the king urged swift implementation of the new constitution, starting with the holding of parliamentary elections in 2011 instead of in 2012. A prominent moderate Islamist party, the Justice and Development Party, subsequently won the largest number of seats on 25 November 2011, becoming the first Islamist party to lead the Moroccan Government. In January 2012, Morocco assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.
Location
Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara
Geographic coordinates
32 00 N, 5 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
446,550 sq km
rank:
58
land:
446,300 sq km
water:
250 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly larger than California
Land boundaries
total:
2,017.9 km
border countries:
Algeria 1,559 km, Western Sahara 443 km, Spain (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Spain (Melilla) 9.6 km
Coastline
1,835 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
contiguous zone:
24 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior
Terrain
northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Sebkha Tah -55 m
highest point:
Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m
Natural resources
phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt
Land use
arable land:
19%
permanent crops:
2%
other:
79% (2005)
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Irrigated land
14,570 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
29 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
12.6 cu km/yr (10%/3%/87%)
per capita:
400 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water supplies contaminated by raw sewage; siltation of reservoirs; oil pollution of coastal waters
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified:
Environmental Modification
Geography - note
strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar
Country name
conventional long form:
Kingdom of Morocco
conventional short form:
Morocco
local long form:
Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
local short form:
Al Maghrib
Government type
constitutional monarchy
Capital
name:
Rabat
geographic coordinates:
34 01 N, 6 49 W
time difference:
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1 hr, begins first Sunday in April; ends last Sunday in July
Administrative divisions
15 regions; Grand Casablanca, Chaouia-Ouardigha, Doukkala-Abda, Fes-Boulemane, Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen, Guelmim-Es Smara, Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Meknes-Tafilalet, Oriental, Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Souss-Massa-Draa, Tadla-Azilal, Tanger-Tetouan, Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate
Morocco claims the territory of Western Sahara, the political status of which is considered undetermined by the US Government; portions of the regions Guelmim-Es Smara and Laayoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra as claimed by Morocco lie within Western Sahara; Morocco also claims Oued Eddahab-Lagouira, another region that falls entirely within Western Sahara
Independence
2 March 1956 (from France)
National holiday
Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999)
Constitution
10 March 1972; revised 4 September 1992, amended September 1996; constitutional reforms weakening the King's power approved in referendum 1 July 2011
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil law based on French law and Islamic law; judicial review of legislative acts by Supreme Court
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
King MOHAMMED VI (since 30 July 1999)
head of government:
Prime Minister Abdelilah BENKIRANE (since 29 November 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister
elections:
the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament consists of the Chamber of Counselors (or upper house) (270 seats - to be reduced to a maximum of 120; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates to serve nine-year terms; one-third of the members are elected every three years) and Chamber of Representatives (or lower house) (395 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
Chamber of Counselors - last held on 3 October 2009 (next to be held in 2012); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 November 2011 (next to be held in 2016)
election results:
Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PJD 107, PI 60, RNI 52, PAM 47, USFP 39, MP 32, UC 23, PPS 18, LP 4, other 13
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders
Action Party or PA [Mohammed EL IDRISSI]; Al Ahd (The Covenant) Party [Najib EL OUAZZANI]; Alliance des Libert'es (Alliance of Liberty) or ADL [Ali BELHAJ]; An-Nahj Ad-Dimocrati or An-Nahj [Abdellah EL HARIF]; Authenticity and Modernity Party or PAM [Mohamed Cheikh BIADILLAH, secretary general]; Choura et Istiqlal (Consultation and Independence) Party or PCI [Abdelwahed MAACH]; Citizens' Forces or FC [Abderrahman LAHJOUJI]; Citizenship and Development Initiative or ICD [Mohamed BENHAMOU]; Constitutional Union Party or UC [Mohammed ABIED]; Democratic and Social Movement or MDS [Mahmoud ARCHANE]; Democratic Forces Front or FFD [Touhami EL KHIARI]; Democratic Socialist Vanguard Party or PADS [Ahmed BENJELLOUN]; Democratic Society Party or PSD [Zhor CHEKKAFI]; Democratic Union or UD [Bouazza IKKEN]; Environment and Development Party or PED [Ahmed EL ALAMI]; Istiqlal (Independence) Party or PI [Abbas EL FASSI]; Justice and Development Party or PJD [Abdelillah BENKIRANE]; Labor Party or PT [Abdelkrim BENATIK]; Moroccan Liberal Party or PML [Mohamed ZIANE]; National Democratic Party or PND [Abdallah KADIRI]; National Ittihadi Congress Party or CNI [Abdelmajid BOUZOUBAA]; National Popular Movement or MNP [Mahjoubi AHERDANE]; National Rally of Independents or RNI [Mustapha EL MANSOURI]; National Union of Popular Forces or UNFP [Abdellah IBRAHIM]; Popular Movement or MP [Mohamed LAENSER]; Progress and Socialism Party or PPS [Ismail ALAOUI]; Reform and Development Party or PRD [Abderrahmane EL KOUHEN]; Renaissance and Virtue Party or PRV [Mohamed KHALIDI]; Renewal and Equity Party or PRE [Chakir ACHABAR]; Social Center Party or PSC [Lahcen MADIH]; Socialist Democratic Party or PSD [Aissa OUARDIGHI]; Socialist Union of Popular Forces or USFP [Abdelwahed RADI]; Unified Socialist Left Party or PGSU [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Democratic Confederation of Labor or CDT [Noubir AMAOUI]; General Union of Moroccan Workers or UGTM [Abderrazzak AFILAL]; Moroccan Employers Association or CGEM [Hassan CHAMI]; National Labor Union of Morocco or UNMT [Abdelslam MAATI]; Union of Moroccan Workers or UMT [Mahjoub BENSEDDIK]
International organization participation
ABEDA, AfDB, AFESD, AMF, AMU, CD, EBRD, FAO, G-11, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAS, MIGA, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OIF, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club (associate), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNOCI, UNSC (temporary), UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Mohammed Rachad BOUHLAL
chancery:
1601 21st Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone:
[1] (202) 462-7979
FAX:
[1] (202) 265-0161
consulate(s) general:
New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Samuel L. KAPLAN
embassy:
2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi, Rabat
mailing address:
PSC 74, Box 021, APO AE 09718
telephone:
[212] (37) 76 22 65
FAX:
[212] (37) 76 56 61
consulate(s) general:
Casablanca
Flag description
red with a green pentacle (five-pointed, linear star) known as Sulayman's (Solomon's) seal in the center of the flag; red and green are traditional colors in Arab flags, although the use of red is more commonly associated with the Arab states of the Persian gulf; the pentacle represents the five pillars of Islam and signifies the association between God and the nation; design dates to 1912
National symbol(s)
pentacle symbol; lion
National anthem
name:
"Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)
lyrics/music:
Ali Squalli HOUSSAINI/Leo MORGAN
music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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