The Moorish Wanderer

S&P is Moody, Fitch is grading the rate

Theres little to be discussed seriously on the home front. Perhaps the Amar/Gazhaoui matter; No, too banal I am afraid, and we are in the process in making it so indeed.

There was something I wanted to discuss a couple of months ago but I lacked time but then again, and with the benefit of hindsight, the issue would be clearer and therefore easier to deal with.

For those of you with interest in economics and finance, you heard about the grading improvement on the Moroccan sovereign debt. In a nutshell, according to the grading agencies (like Standards and Poors, Moodys, or Fitch), Morocco is now safer to invest in (the assets bear less risk and are more liquid than before). Presumably, this is good news for the economy, especially with regard to the tightening global economic conditions. The business cycles likely trends are still on the downward slope (with little glimpses of recovery here and there, but not enough to reverse the tendency), so actual money is tight, therefore making credit opportunities rarer.

screen capture of the S&P announcement


Indeed, goods news because from now on, Morocco is Investment-Grade approved. Namely, bonds with grades ranging from AAA (the strongest and highest rate) to BBB. And we are now in a chance: since March 23th, 2010, the main grading agencies changed their ratings favourably on the various levels of debts the Moroccan government services to foreign holders.

The fact Moroccan sovereign debt went Investment-Grade allows for a new batch of investors to put their money in our economy. Indeed, the UCTIS III regulations provide for a particular kind of financial instruments all related to Money market. A new surge of money with which the government can put into practise the policies that would enable growth and wealth for the Moroccan economy. A fresh influx of money could also mean a renewal of our debt structure, a specific aspect that shouldnt be overlooked.

I believe this piece of good news is not really one. Yes indeed, the economic outlook seems stable, but on the other hand, Morocco is gasping for fresh foreign currency. It may seem a surprise, but the foreign exchange terms are absolutely not in our favour, as indeed the commercial balance deficit is worsening, and we desperately need, one way or the other, to finance it. Either by engaging the reserve currency or by calling up money on the international markets (the latter is now even more possible with the rating improvement)

The reserve currency has always been a nightmare for the Moroccan economists (and to the economic journalists as well); they were already alarmed in 2009 about it then, and have every reason to be alarmed now (as you may notice, the announcement effect takes time to be felt…)

Let us first list some facts and figures on our economic resilience in terms of currency holdings;

According to the quarterly statistics digest (N°123, March 2010), the Central Bank claims 187.392billion MAD on currency holdings. The holdings are mainly convertibles (96%), a liquid holding that enables BKAM to intervene whenever needed to in order to balance the books, i.e. hold he dirham value or finance indirectly imports.

Net Foreign currency holdings 2010 Q1

The 2008 Annual report rightly points out that this level enables for 7 months worth of imports, compared to 9 months the year before. It mainly goes back to the terms of trade; basically, our exports in terms of value do not match our imports. Though it is more of a structural nature, the exports did worse with respect to the past years. Without too much detail, the exports in the late 1990s used to match ¾ of the imports, but since 2005, only half of it was met (between 48 and 50% worth) which means a drain in reserve holdings. A current account deficit can be addressed in the course of the following actions:

* improve our exports monetary value is the most straightforward yet difficult policy

* choke the imports is virtually impossible (where one can get the oil and hardware from?)

* find the money to finance the deficit with foreign direct investment (FDI) which is now more possible with the ratings change.


Treasury Debt structure Domestic/Foreign

Like many countries that when through the painful process of structural adjustment in the 1980s, Morocco learned its lessons on foreign debt. In facts, it looks as though the top brass are trying to do anything but to borrow some money on international markets. Now the grading changed, they might go for it, which would not be a good idea now (yield curve 10+ indices).

The feat then-finance minister F. Oulalaou accomplishednamely, halving foreign debt by half in 7 yearscame to the price of local debt.

(Bloomberg, Finance Ministry)

As shown on the graph, Treasury rate of return outperformed stock exchange volume and cap (which has an effect on required return) It is quite unique in finance theory of course, but the Casablanca stock exchange is known for its over-capitalization, as well as the relative non-liquidity due to a high concentration of assets (the ONA-SNI theory holds firm even after the merger)

There was indeed a liquidity excess on the markets that enabled the government to issue T-bonds and T-bills at low premium (and thus, at low cost) and achieve a two-fold policy: keep inflation low (by taking away the liquidity instead of letting it flow through) as well as get their hands on cheap and harmless borrowings to carry out their policies.

Nonetheless, this state of grace ended with the flow of liquidities. The effect of structural balance deficit was emboldened by the decrease in expatriates (MRE) transfers. The Q1 2008 saw therefore a noticeable tightening in liquidity, which prompted the central bank to lower their main rates in order to get the show on the road.

On the other hand, public debt no longer was attractive (the stock exchange returns exceeded the public debt returns), and now that some of the middle and long-term arrived at maturity, a small yet distinguishable dip in the ratio domestic debt/GDP. This, combined with the worsening of commercial balance, put a heavy strain on the government to call up some fresh, foreign money.

They have to. Let us take a look at this simple but always true equation:

GDP = C+In+G+(X-Im)

Where GDP is the gross domestic product C consumption, In investment, X exports and Im imports.

On the other hand, Investment and total income are tied. In facts, the following equation depicts the relation between savings (the non-consumed income) and investment (earmarked to replace or expand means of productions):

CA = S-I

(Where CA is the current account, S savings and I the domestic investments)

The late equation can be computed into the first one, and thus:

GDP = C+G+(X-Im)+(S-CA)

Government spending is assumed to be exogenous to foreign trade. Consumption, on the other hand, can be function of imports (we do after all consume Turkish, US or Egyptian goods, dont we?) Furthermore, we can assume now the savings are indiscriminate between domestic or foreign;

GDP = C(Im)+G+(X-Im)+( S-CA)

(for anyone interesting in a more detailed and rigorous approach, this San Francisco Fed reserve working paper is a real bliss)

Now, (X-Im) and (TS-CA) need to be balanced: the first term needs to be financed by means of the second. It so happens that the commercial balance worsened the last few years, which means a negative value for (X-Im). In order to finance the deficit, we need to increase by the same proportions (or higher) the deficit itself, namely, by calling up foreign savings (i.e., FDI). Why foreign? Why cant we use the domestic savings? Two main reasons: either because we dont have much or it does not satisfy itself with the present returns.

For a fact, we know that R=C+S (where R is the total income) we also know that imports are a parameter in consumption behaviour, so R = C(Im)+S. However, we do know imports have risen quite substantially over the last 3 years, much more than the total income, indeed, R < C(Im), which makes Savings smaller in relative terms.

Bottom line is, sooner or later (and I believe it would be sooner rather than later) we will have to turn to the international markets.

Because of the present situation, the bonds issued are going to be expensive for Morocco (i.e with high premium rates, in order to attract investors) and thats were the danger lies.

Short or Long money do not cost the same, and its own use will affect its efficiency as well. Let us assume the brass goes for short money because its cheaper, short-term rates the US Fed, or the ECB or Bank Of England took up are at their historical lowest; Morocco needs to put the money into high-return short positions; They cannot sanely put the money into a long-term public investment, of course. In facts, its just a temporary patch-up plan with little help on the whole situation. Long-term borrowings are just too expensive, and the required rate of return is too high for the initial borrowing to be of interest. [Edit: they did, as my predictions turned wrong]

Whats to do then? The decision to borrow a larger amount of foreign money is inevitable, and in itself, is not that harmful.

The core question is two-fold: what kind of money do we need to borrow, and what sort of expenditure should we pay for? The first term is directly linked to the second. But because we have no idea what is the public policy on that matter, we can only speculate. And this is typical of an opaque governmental institution. When politicians are not pressed for electoral results, when they are not accountable to their constituents, and indeed, when the pursued policies are not in the interest of the many but to that of the few, the decisions usually lead to under-optima solutions.

Makhzen, Bureaucracy and the People

There’s something any liberal/radical political force will have to take into account whenever it has the opportunity to take over ‘real power’ in Morocco (through peaceful and democratic process, I do hope), the whole range of actors party of government (or any governmental-related sector). These actors are not necessarily of hostile intentions, perhaps with different motivations, and ultimately, agendas.

The civil service. It’s quite strange to discuss a piece on our own one. The fact it, Morocco followed an incomplete -and somewhere perhaps, purposely- copy/paste policy of the French civil service scheme(s). And we ended up with all the drawbacks of it, and none -or very little- of their advantages. Yet one way or another, the civil service, even without a policy of their own, that is, with no purpose but to serve the political power in place, can be a powerful tool or a stubborn roadblock for any democratically elected and motivated government. The fact is, all government with radical/ambitious polices -left or right alike- in many parts of the world (say, the U.K under Thatcher , France under Mitterand, Clinton or Obama, etc…) usually face cautious, if not deliberately hostile behaviour from the civil service, that very body designed, paid, trained for one thing and one thing only: to carry out the policies of their political masters. The satirical show ‘Yes (Prime) Minister’ just outlines -in a comical way, though full of hidden meaningful allusions- that when the senior civil servants (and in facts, even the lowly officials) do not agree with the pace of change or with any change at all, they can feature, as Sir Humphrey Appleby calls it : ‘creative inertia’. This is not our main subject, but it is related to how a government should proceed (among a set of designated public policies) to get through their polices and get along with their agenda. They do, after all, represent the will of the people, right?

There’s something that needs to be pointed out regarding the Moroccan context: the Makhzen (as a state of mind as well as an institutional cluster) has a solid grip on civil service. whether you believe or not Makhzen still exists or not (and that’s institution for you) some behaviours or specific procedures survived and are still in effect. It is actually so perverse that some actors, the very ones longing and claiming for change (say, some trade-unionists, or journalists, or politicians) could easily block and repel any change that wouldn’t serve their interest, or endanger their rent-position. Rules of the game it seems.

The civil service reform -a reform that has to be part of any real radically democratic political agenda- has to bear it in their computations.
1/ the left-wing parties: UNFP/USFP and the Radical Left surprisingly agree on the principle of ‘strong’ governmental bureaucracy. Strong in the sense of centralized and rationalized, just as Wallerstein describes it. In facts, the left-wing side takes for granted Morocco cannot be ruled without a strong bureaucracy, for one thing: with no obedient and devoted bureaucracy, no progressive political power can do away with the reactionary, feudal lobbies. The UNFP/USFP vision was perhaps more ‘operational’ (and in facts, with a glimpse of experience in 1958, and in a more limited pattern, in 1998)
The civil service of the immediate following years of 1956 was quite pro-Istiqlal, and later, in some levels, pro-Union Nationale des Forces Populaires. The embryonic service was therefore full of sympathy for the left-wing party (a sympathy ranging from neutral to actively biased) especially in services with daily in touch with the people: education, post office/telegraphs, police (many former ALM soldiers joined the police after 1955 and 1958) and finally, local administration. Until 1969, these sympathies were quite important, and even though they were not put into practise, they would have been of great help for a genuinely powerful UNFP government. The 1970’s saw the Rabat-wing take off and turn Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires, and with it, the Ittihadi influence (formalized through their own trade union CDT)
In facts, this Ittihadi ‘natural hegemony’ (not only in the USFP, but even in its successive spin-offs, such as the Parti d’Avant-garde Démocratique Socialiste, Congrès National Ittihadi, Parti Socialiste and soon to be merged-with Parti Travailliste) justifies itself with the historical heritage the UNFP represents (and that every Ittihad party, symbolically or voluntarily, claims as theirs). In any case, Benbarka did state the theoretical background of it in the founding text, ‘Option Révolutionnaire‘: “l’importance, pour l’avenir de notre pays, de ce 2° congrès de l’UNFP, qui va donner à notre mouvement la possibilité de sortir avec une organisation renouvelée et des perspectives nettement définies et lui permettre ainsi d’être à la hauteur de ses tâches historiques”. Or when discussing the party’s role in economic development: “il faut expliquer que toutes les options économiques du parti révolutionnaire qui sont les points de son programme, ne sont pas par el1es-mêmes le socialisme, mais que simplement elles lui préparent le terrain. La planification par exemple est un moyen rationnel de choisir les points d’impact des investissements, les nationalisations dans les domaines agricole, industriel, commercial et bancaire – quand elles sont possibles et favorables – servent à augmenter les possibilités nationales d’investissement.” That assumes party workers and technicians to supervise the whole planning process.
Then, Bebarka sketches a very intersting plan for the Option Révolutionnaire as a party, as an organization fit for power:”Tout d’abord. il nous faut veiller sur l’instrument seul capable de traduire nos résolutions dans la réalité: c’est notre parti l’UNFP. Nous avons bien dit,. au moment de sa création, qu’il ne s’agissait pas d’un parti comme les autres. Et c’est à juste titre que notre organisation n’a cessé de susciter les espérances populaires dont nous sommes porteurs.(…) Pour ce qui est de la participation de la base, il s’agit de l’inscription dans les statuts d’une disposition qui assure une participation effective de tous les militants à l’élaboration de la ligne de conduite de l’UNFP, ainsi que le contrôle des différents organes centraux et régionaux par la base.(…)” (the whole range of p28-30 is devoted to a thorough description of how the revolutionary party, i.e. UNFP, should be)
In essence, the UNFP-USFP bureaucracy is very much in the spirit of another of Benbarka’s ideas, namely, the ‘militant citizen‘. The bureaucracy is dual: the civil servants, citizens as well, are there to support the party’s project; either by enlisting as party workers (a touch of Leninist theory there) or by providing enthusiastic support for it.

The student breakaway of the early 1970’s that led to ’23 Mars’ movement was even more ‘conceptual’ about it. These young militants, alongside their Ilal-Amam’s opposite number shared a deep understanding of Leninist theory of ‘Party-State’ and Maoïst experience. The radical left went even further in their public-policy strategy: Whatever has been said or speculated upon, Ben Barka remained true to the idea of a constitutional monarchy: a symbolic and purely honorific King, while the party political is dealt with by politicians, presumably elected and therefore of diverse political opinions, but that is quite blur in Ben Barka’s writings. The radical left adopted the Leninist theory of Party-state as theirs. Lenin did write in 1905: “…First of all, we are discussing party literature and its subordination to party control. Everyone is free to write and say whatever he likes, without any restrictions. But every voluntary association (including the party) is also free to expel members who use the name of the party to advocate anti-party views. Freedom of speech and the press must be complete. But then freedom of association must be complete too. I am bound to accord you, in the name of free speech, the full right to shout, lie and write to your heart’s content. But you are bound to grant me, in the name of freedom of association, the right to enter into, or withdraw from, association with people advocating this or that view. The party is a voluntary association, which would inevitably break up, first ideologically and then physically, if it did not cleanse itself of people advocating anti-party views.” and that was just about party literature; Lenin had this incredible insight for detail organization (which made him such a great leader, or horrible butcher, depending on your political views) and produced a tremendous sum on that matter; In “What Is To Be Done” (much more classier in French: “Que Faire?“), the paragraph 4 essentially: “The workers’ organisations for the economic struggle should be trade union organisations. (…) It is certainly not in our interest to demand that only Social-Democrats should be eligible for membership in the “trade” unions, since that would only narrow the scope of our influence upon the masses. Let every worker who understands the need to unite for the struggle against the employers and the government join the trade unions. The very aim of the trade unions would be impossible of achievement, if they did not unite all who have attained at least this elementary degree of understanding, if they were not very broad organisations. The broader these organisations, the broader will be our influence over them — an influence due, not only to the “spontaneous” development of the economic struggle, but to the direct and conscious effort of the socialist trade union members to influence their comrades. But a broad organisation cannot apply methods of strict secrecy (since this demands far greater training than is required for the economic struggle). How is the contradiction between the need for a large membership and the need for strictly secret methods to be reconciled? How are we to make the trade unions as public as possible? Generally speaking, there can be only two ways to this end: either the trade unions become legalised (in some countries this preceded the legalisation of the socialist and political unions), or the organisation is kept secret, but so “free” (…) that the need for secret methods becomes almost negligible as far as the bulk of the members is concerned (…) I could go on analysing the Rules, but I think that what has been said will suffice. A small, compact core of the most reliable, experienced, and hardened workers, with responsible representatives in the principal districts and connected by all the rules of strict secrecy with the organisation of revolutionaries, can, with the widest support of the masses and without any formal organisation, perform all the functions of a trade union organisation”. And that was tried to be applied. The radicals being students or high-school pupils, the students’ union (UNEM) was the perfect trade-union’ organization-like for the party-state to flourish. The party-state, after the revolution, takes over political government (as the organized tool of proletariat dictatorship as it were) and carries out the socialist period until the communist state is achieve, thus leading to the dissolution of both the party, the dictatorship and the classes. As on can see, there’s little difference in the left-leaning political side but in details of implementation.

2/the Makhzen bureaucracy: There must be at least someone in the inner circle that would have enough education to realize how powerful the Makhzen is now, compared to 1956, and even more powerful compared to the pre-1912 Morocco. It must be pointed out that Laroui considered the Makhzen as the first attempt to create a modern bureaucracy in Morocco. Theoretically at least, all the essential symbols of civil service were there: taxes and armed forces. Very rustic, very primitive of course, but with an intrinsic logic and set of functions that did prompt Laroui to consider it as ‘Modern’. The Makhzen bureaucracy had but one crucial weakness: rationalization, or rather, institutionalization. Even though Makhzen apparatus had centuries of existence, tribes always tried either to take advantage of it, or to free themselves from it. Moroccan political administration was a constant reaffirmation of central power (and failed in achieving it completely). In facts, Makhzen power was function of the sultan’s personnality: Sultan Rashid, being ruthless and very active, managed to tame the tribes and maintain a centralized, Makhzen-obedient Morocco. Sultan Abdelaziz, being weak and under his Vizir’s influence, had little grip on power and therefore ruled a rebellious Morocco with ‘Blad Makhzen’ going as far as Fes and major imperial cities, with the rural areas living in Siba, or autonomous home rule (and especially not anarchist state, as the Makhzenian hagiographers tend to write)

Theoretically, Makhzen governement is very structured: there was a top-level civil service with official titles (Grand Vizir, Grand âalaff, Khlifas or deputies in regions, etc…) the hierarchy is well established and rigidly codified (not a very good thing of course, but it just shows Makhzen bureaucracy got at least the drawbacks of modern civil service) Laroui, in his ‘Origines culturelles et sociales du Nationalisme Marocain‘ relates how this bureaucracy meddles even in choosing the sultan: “(…)Nous voyons que le sultan est bien choisi par une minorité qui représente le Palais au sens large, c’est-à-dire la famille sultanienne, les serviteurs et les grands commis; Toutefois, cette minorité même ne jouit pas d’une liberté illimitée; son choix est souvent circonscrit à deux frères, et même dans ce cas, les préférences marquées par le sultan défunt (…)” (p81)
Then Laroui proceeds in enumerating the various departments the official Makhzen consists of, all of which are part of the semi-modern the pre-1912 bureaucracy Morocco had:
– the Army: according to J. Erckmann, the Army couldn’t field more than a standard regular division (10.000 troops that is) called ‘guish‘ الجيش. However, and because the outfit is not enough to set up expeditions or face exterior threats, the Makhzen also draft irregulars from the tribes: Guish of course, but also Cheraga, Oulad Jamîi, and Udaya (which were deported and forced into Imperial service). While in western countries the military cast was shun from political involvement (even the Prussian court privileged professional, apolitical officers, save for Bismarck, that is) the tribal army was waist deep in political intrigues and court plots. In facts, the guish, mainly slaves descendent of the Bukhara army, maintained a tight political control over high offices (the well-known example of Grand Vizir Ba Hmad for instance.)
The main feature of Makhzenian army is that of its purpose; It is not fit for war against foreign powers (as Isly Battle will tragically point out) but to collect taxes and suppress dissent whenever it grows too important and too popular. “En réalité (…) il s’agit d’un service militaire permanent qui dépend des besoins et de la situation du Trésor” (footnote 39, p82)
– the Civil Service: unlike the army, the civil srvice changed overtime; For instance, about the Amin (deputy representative of a specific corporation, i.e. Artisans, Butchers, Blacksmiths, Grocers,… )”...il n’en reste pas pas moins vrai (qu’ils) ont intrduit une certaine rationalisation dans l’administration fiscale, l’intendance des palais sultaniens, l’exploitation des azibs (domaines fonciers), l’organisation de la douane, des droits des portes et marchés, de la poste chérifienne, etc…; Les livres de comptes qui remplissent les archives du temps de Mohamed IV ou Hassan Ier leur sont dus (…)” (p84) The odd thing is, Laroui didn’t mention justice (left to the Cadi, which is not technically speaking a civil service, for his reward and payroll comes from the ‘gifts’/bribes he gets on the cases before him.) or local administration. In facts, Makhzen civil service is above all, and perhaps, solely, about money. It’s purpose is to pump money out of the Moroccans to pay for the army and the sultan’s expanses.
The Makhzen scheme, while proved working for a couple of centuries, lacks the essential feature a good bureaucracy should have, namely efficiency.

3/ the Islamist scheme: a return to the golden age
The odd thing about what is now the popular ideology among Moroccans (and the MENA region I should think), Islamism, is its total lack of bureaucratic vision. Which is even odd, regarding the huge sympathy it draws from social categories such as engineers, doctors, lawyers and so on. Speaking for Al-Adl, their paper on political reforms, while being as radical as Annahj’s stand, doesn’t say much on the bureaucratic front: how civil servants should be trained, how they should act on behalf of their government, all in all, how to run a country.
Besides their heavy reliance on Shariaa and Hadith corpus, the Islamists (the most able ones of course, the PJD is out of course) position is, with all due respect, shallow. Their ideological articles, while very structured and quite bright, do not deviate from the classic scheme of the Islamic Umma. an activist writes on that matter: “لا يفوت المطالع لأي من كتابات الأستاذ المرشد عبد السلام ياسين، بناءها على أساس اليقين بوعد الله تعالى، فيحدّث عن الخلافة الثانية ودولة القرآن كأنه يراها رأي العين، هذا اليقين العظيم الذي أوصى بتعلمه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، مصدره ما سماه الأستاذ المرشد حفظه الله “الشهادة التاريخية” “المتمثلة في السيرة النبوية وفي الخلافة الرشيدة، ثم بعد في ومضات تاريخية هنا وهناك، بأن القرآن قابل للتطبيق، وبأن دولة القرآن ليست مثالا حالما تمخضت عنه الفلسفة الأرضية كما تمخضت عن المذاهب الفكر“. The classical islamic institutions (khilafa, bayt al mal, etc…) are deemed to be still effective (a surprisingly ignorance of the modern world complexity makes me wonder about one particular subject: how are Adl militants-civil servants are going to monitor banks on the sensitive issue of interest rates? Or is Bayt Al Mal director will deal with it all right in religious zeal as well?)

In facts, the Islamist civil service project is very simplistic. It bears the same features as the Makhzen circa 1912, with a stronger ideological content of course but no real interest in actual local and central government. Faith does not lead a country into prosperity, neither moral values enforcement. One doesn’t live on pray and religious observance of rites…

What’s a good bureaucracy then? Max Weber provided the theoretical background to it; “ Weber sets out an ‘ideal type’ (see last lecture) for bureaucracy, characterised by an elaborate hierarchical division of labour directed by explicit rules impersonally applied, staffed by full-time, life-time, professionals, who do not in any sense own the ‘means of administration’, or their jobs, or the sources of their funds, and live off a salary, not from income derived directly from the performance of their job. These are all features found in the public service, in the offices of private firms, in universities, and so on.

The modern bureaucrat is a full-time, life-time professional; this requires a sufficient salary and job security, because otherwise people will not stay in the job full time for life. Unless they do, the organization will not be efficient. It takes time and experience to learn the job, not so much because it is difficult to perform the particular task, but because it all has to be coordinated. An elaborate division of labour requires stability of staff. Because of the nature of bureaucratic work, and also perhaps because of the importance of training and coordination in the job, the bureaucracy wants educated recruits. Their education will be attested by some certificate (partly just to prove they have been educated, but also perhaps because a bureaucracy likes to work with clear impersonal criteria). Weber speaks of ‘credentialism’, the preoccupation evident in modern societies with formal educational qualifications. All these things – credentials, fixed salary, tenure, stability of staffing, Weber incorporates into his ideal type. They are all required, he believes, for the efficient functioning of an administrative machine.”

Even though Weber recognized his ideal type will not fit the real bureaucracy, his predicament of the bureaucratic model as a universal standard came true. Now, bearing in mind those features, what could a genuine democratic government do? Not much of course, as setting up an entirely new civil service takes time (and in facts, a lot of time)

Perhaps we’ve been looking the other way round; Perhaps the civil service is not that essential after all. I am not stating a government can run a country without civil services, but the citizens can, by means of regular check, make sure the civil service doesn’t run the country by itself. The idea of citizen committees at local levels (I’d say, at borough level, 500 or so household would hold the local administration accountable), a bottom-up sort of political legitimization process. I did discuss in an earlier post some proposals for regionalization (or a Federal Moroccan monarchy that is). It could be a very good idea: by means of local and federal administration, the civil service loses its ‘political’ grip on home affairs; Civil servants tend to be more efficient when their are under credible and dissuasive control (on corruption as well as on productivity). It could be so that no political body gets involved in the process: the citizens at local levels could inquire on both their elected members as well as on their administrative staff. Of course, this cannot be achieved if citizens are not interested in politics or public management. However, there should be a way in linking their zeal over control, and their own personal interests: everyone knows how difficult it is to get an administrative paper at the local office; For the sake of argument, regardless of civic pre-conditions, how could an household agent get the incentive to devote some of their time to control and check what the state agent is doing?

I am through. There’s a lot to be discussed about how good a civil service should be in running a contry while being transaprent and accountable to the people’s will. I do however have some ideas I could toss in; perhaps for another article: strict transparency for budget allowance (in opposition of a sacred principle within the civil service, ‘principe de non affectation‘) civic control over tax breakdown, ‘civic pay’ for occasional checks…

Ecouvillon 1958

I am proud to say that I have left my nihilist filthy habit out of this post. Since some of our would-be young political leaders need to be punched in their unsubstantial guts and for those of you with a healthy thrust for modern history, I shall provide some insights on how Morocco found itself trapped in the Sahara problem; And I will too talk about a glorious feat unfortunately little known to the Moroccans. Broadly speaking, I claim the Makhzen made a mistake in neglecting -at best, if it’s not simply betrayal- the Moroccan Liberation Army. I sincerely believe that, if the Abdellah Ibrahim government had its way, that is, if the MLA commanders got the support they were requesting, this whole shebang wouldn’t happen. But of course, History cannot be re-written, but we should learn from it; The claim is justified, but it the truth should be told, the patriot is so indeed when they are fully aware of the Motherland history (and to be honest, I don’t think the CJDM people know much about it…) Ecouvillon. A bottle-brush. a tool you need to clean-up clogged stuff. Ecouvillon-Ouragan is a little-known episode of the immediate years following Morocco’s independence.

I’ve got a question: How come no one of our fiercely patriotic young people was shocked we’d got half-independence? Morocco recovered a little under 40% of its present area (Sahara included) with bits and chunks still under foreign supervision. We were indeed protected, though actually Moroccan territory was divided up between France and Spain (and we do know who signed the treaty, don’t we?) And, to remind the amnesic generations, the Green March was not the only, nor the first attempt to affirm Morocco’s claim over the Sahara.

Shortly before independence, the MLA started building up its strength. The first units of the Moroccan Liberation Army started guerrilla warfare on French garrisons, October 1955, on the border from their Spanish Morocco bases. After the independence, some of these units start moving southwards, directly into the Rio De Oro Sahara. Colonel Benhamou, deputy commander, moved then most of his troops to Attar early January 1957. Let us also note that right from the start, the Monarchy tried bribing some of its leaders, either by giving them grima, or a civil-service posting, or money (there were even official communication about that to the local commanders shortly after the Saint Cloud treaty was signed). In any case, the monarchy wanted to get hold of the MLA as soon as possible, seemingly to restore ‘law and order’ as this 1957 AFP communiqué suggests:

Répondant au désir de Sa Majesté Mohammed V relatif au retour au calme et à la stabilité, (…) l’Armée de libération se devait de cesser toute action que les circonstances l’avaient obligée jusqu’ici d’entreprendre pour assurer le maintien de la sécurité publique. Dorénamvant, il appartient au gouvernement de Sa Majesté, qui a pris en main les pouvoirs nécessaires, d’assurer ses responsabilitées et d’accomplir les tâches qui lui incombent(I.Dalle, p53)

Those who refused to do so continued the struggle, as Morocco was not fully independent, a large chunk of its territories (including the disputed Mauritania until 1960) was still under French and Spanish control.

Spanish Legion at Al-Aiun. These and the Tropas Nomadas fought against the MLA.

Early 1957 saw the first actions the MLA started out against small Spanish garrisons. Desert warfare gave significant advantage to the MLA flying columns: as they rely on local tribes‘ guidance, support and protection, they easily make up for their lack of air and heavy support, especially against fixed positions the Spanish forces were desperately trying to hold against the Moroccan raids. It must be pointed out that while some political factions in free Morocco where wholeheartedly supporting the MLA raids, other elements close to the Monarchy were actually afraid of this increasingly popular political and military force. Even the newly-founded FAR (Forces Armées Royales) were no match to the battle-harden –and ideologically committed- members of the MLA. Furthermore, because how unique battlefield the Rio De Oro is, modern weapons did not matter: save for the relatively new light weapons (sub and support light machineguns) the MLA as well as their ennemies fielded WW2-era rifles and mortars. The Spanish couldn’t make good use of their close-support jet fighters, so the technological gap between the MLA and the Spanish garrisons was narrowed down. The French, on the other hand, were increasingly concerned with the Algerian uprising (1954) and couldn’t commit enough troops to protect their territories. They where however in the same position, as they were fielding relatively obsolete weaponry, with the advantage of larger mechanized forces, compared to the Spaniards. The French were more than worried the MLA raids could affect their position north Port-Etienne (Nouakchott)

Early February, Ecouvillon is set up with big resources: the Suez fiasco prompted the French command (and their Spanish allies) to commit as much equipment and manpower to their venture in order to make out a swift and blitzkrieg-like operation. In facts, the field allowed for large-scale attacks, very much like the raids (rezzou) Sahrawi tribes were quite fond of. According to Attilio Gaudio, the French AOF (Afrique Occidentale Française) command committed 630 vehicles of all kind, Jeeps, GMC 6×6 Trucks, M8 Armoured cars and miscellaneous light tanks, in order to supply the 10.000-strong column with motorized support. These highly mechanized crack units, mainly paratroopers from the Légion Etrangère and the colonial troops (7e Régiment de Parachutistes Coloniaux), had also local levies, mainly the Méhariste troops with natives acting as guides. The Spanish fielded their own Legion (la Bandera), as well as their local levy, the Tropas Nomadas.

Inspection Line, French Meharists. They Provided Reconnaissance support for Ecouvillon

The strategic goal for the French was to secure a safe corridor near Tindouf, The Spanish, being subject to attrition and on the verge to lose their control over their Sahara, considered that a large-scale operation could indeed allow them to get rid of all hostile activities between Cap-Juby, Villa Cineros and El Aiun. This was a major shift in the ongoing war, as the colonialist forces heavily updated their arsenal and gathered impressive air support for their upcoming attack. The Moroccan Liberation Army, on the other hand, was not as modern as their enemies; the troops were a mixture of Sahrawi tribes and Moroccan irregulars, mainly veterans from the North-Spanish Morocco campaign. The MLA tactics were mainly guerrilla and the troops are mostly Camel-borne. Abdellah Ibrahim recalled that the very existence of the MLA was considered to be most dangerous for the Monarchy’s stability: “One time Colonel M. Benhamou and Fqih Basri met me in order to brief me on the difficulties the MLA is facing, namely the declining supply of food rations, hardware supplies, weapons and ammunitions, They then went on the serious breaches military and high-ranking officials were guilty of, relating to the secrecy of the whole operation (for the benefit of those who might have misunderstood, supporting the MLA was quite unofficial, and it upset lots of people, many of whom were on foreign powers’ payroll) Following his claims, 1958 was also a year of political tensions, as the monarchy increasingly worried the MLA was a serious rival to legitimacy. Abdellah Ibrahim also believed that then-crown prince Hassan was behind this, as well as the right-wing side of the Istiqlal were pushing for political rather than a military solution on the Sahara issue, making them objective allies in the plot against the MLA.

France still had a large chunk of southern Morocco, and since they launched the operation from two directions (as seen on the map) they account for some interesting reports on how helpful the Moroccan border guards were cooperating with them. The Monarchy actually made a deal with the French to help -however passively they were, but help nonetheless- to crush the MLA, and in exchange, they abandon Northern Sahara and could get the Spanish to cede Sidi Ifni. There’s nothing to be ashamed of this (after all, we were ‘protected’ then granted independence through treaties and negotiation) but we shan’t overlook the fact that the crown prince -the one so much praised for his genius on many, many things- voluntarily and consciously sold out true patriot just to make sure no one would appear as a political alternative to him.

Alongside the military operations, the Sahara problem was far beyond Moroccan internal affairs: France needed a safe corridor west of its Algerian territories, and engaged in a ‘chassé-croisé’ strategy with both Spain and Morocco; as A. El Ouali rightfully underlined: “Dès 1957, face à l’opposition franco-espagnole, l’Armée de Libération Marocaine, après avoir contribué à la libération des parties septentrionales du pays, dirige son action vers la libération de tous les territoires sahariens du Maroc. Elle choisit pour ce faire de s’attaquer d’abord au maillon le plus faible du colonialisme franco-espagnol : la présence espagnole au Sahara. Dès le mois de novembre 1957, elle parvient, dans une action éclair, à prendre de revers les forces militaires espagnoles et à s’installer dans l’ensemble du Sahara marocain” which is quite right, the sucessful raids against Al Aiun were rather a surprise for many observers:

“Guerrillas of the old Moroccan Army of Liberation, no longer occupied with fighting the French, moved into the scrublands around the Ifni frontier. No sooner had the King departed for his visit to the U.S. than the irregulars assembled a motley force of some 1,200 townsmen and tribesmen and launched an attack on Ifni. […]Their first thrust the black-turbaned, khaki-uniformed irregulars swept into Sidi Ifni itself, a small (pop. 10,000) fishing town of unpaved streets. They slaughtered a score of sleeping Spanish sentries and made off with some trucks and mules. The Spanish, who last month jailed a few local Moslems for demonstrating in favour of King Mohammed, had quietly reinforced the Ifni garrison with several hundred paratroopers and Foreign Legionnaires. Shouting their battle cry of “Long Live Death,” the Legionnaires led a counterattack into the hills that drove most of the invaders back across the frontier and cost them an estimated 100 dead, 200 wounded. Announced Spanish casualties: 5 dead, 43 wounded. The Moroccans managed to hang on to some of Ifni’s border outposts. Spanish paratroops dropped from the skies to retake one, a heavy cruiser lobbed shells into others.

The Time also accounted for some interesting articles on the ongoing operations the MLA carried out successfully against Spanish, then French outpost on the desert. The MLA was so successful that it carried out long-range raids on Al Aiun: “After two months of fighting, irregulars of the Moroccan Liberation Army, under the leadership of a squat ex-Marrakech street vendor named Benhamou, have driven the Spanish out of most of their Atlantic Coast enclave of Ifni. Ifni is not much but rocky rubble and scrub, but its single city, Sidi Ifni (pop. 10,000), has been used by the Spanish as the seat of the governor of all its desert provinces—Ifni, Rio de Oro, Spanish Sahara, as well as the part of southern Morocco that they have continued to rule on the ground that King Mohammed’s government is unable to establish its authority there. Last week, with Moroccans encircling Sidi Ifni’s tightly held perimeter, Madrid merged all the rest of its West African colonies under one military governor, and set up the new administration at the fortified town of Aiun, 250 miles south of Ifni

But Benhamou’s nationalists and tribesmen were moving fast. Now calling themselves the new Saharan Army of Liberation, they appeared at Edchera, near Aiun, in the midst of a blinding sandstorm, launched a fierce attack on its garrison of Spanish soldiers and Legionnaires. It was the most murderous battle since the 1934 French “pacification” campaign. The Spanish claimed the Moroccans fled, leaving 241 corpses and 20 camels. The communiqué also listed 51 Legionnaires dead, but a knowing Madrid source indicated that total Legion casualties almost equaled the Moroccan dead”.
The fact is, the military option was going well, very well indeed, and so the political negotiations ‘official’ Morocco engaged with the Spanish were of marginal interest. The crown prince’s involvement in Ecouvillon was for internal politics: the desire to get rid of the MLA, in order to assert his own power. The betrayal of true patriots (not matter what has been written and said on people like Basri, or Ait Idder) is nothing but treason. History is so ironic that, in 1963, Hassan II’s pity revenge was to accuse and sentence to death these people for treason. As Churchill once said: ‘What kind of people do they think we are?’ I guess this has been overlooked by our esteemed historians, has it not?

Operation Ecouvillon-Ouragan. The Northern part of Sahara still under France's supervision (Map 1958-1959) France committed Colonial paratrooper and desert troops to crack down on MLA activities.

What is then the point in telling the tale? Does it have a link with the current problem? Directly, yes; Instead of giving a free hand to the MLA, and therefore achieve an earlier complete independence (with no Polisario, no RASD, ولا ستي حمس) Hassan II sort of confirmed Spanish control over Western Sahara, and waited to wave the patriotic flag in 1975 –and ever since- in order, again, to deal with left-wing opposition. The very same tactics is set up whenever it’s necessary to suppress dissent. It is, as usual, the ‘enemy from within’ theory.

Why do I need to bring this forgotten history?

First off, to remind the ‘young elite’ that the Makhzen played a Machiavellian part with this Sahara business: first by sacrificing the MLA to the colonialists (in order to assert their power over Morocco) and in a time it was under considerable strain and low popularity, to play the nationalism card.

Second, because of this betrayal, and ever since 1975, the Moroccan people were constantly out of touch; all what was asked –oh, I should say imposed- was silence. 3 decades later, there still are people claiming urbi et orbi the Sahara is Moroccan.

Of course it is, but do we know why we are in such a mess in hands? Do we even admit the Makhzen’s responsibility in this? Of course not, populism and demagogy just point out to the Algerian and shout:’they’re the baddies, we are the goodies’ while young sahrawis in Tindouf are raised in hatred and resentment towards the ‘Colonialist Moroccans’. Meanwhile, dark forces in Morocco, Algeria and the Polisario are taking advantage and loot the people.

Third, because we need a radical shake up of the constitution: speaking for the Moroccan side, my fellow citizens need to be involved in the process. They need to know the negotiators, those in charge of the Sahara issue, should be accountable to the people’s will, and then, our claims will be entirely justified, or at least, with a rigorous and representative voice, that could win the international community’s respect. Perhaps I need to remind that Morocco craves international recognition in order to win their case, It is one of the basic conditions for a state to assert its sovereignty.

Ecouvillon just shows that the Makhzen cannot admit nationalism outside its boundaries. A sad indictment of the MLA Legacy, some consider the FAR’s involvment with ecouvillon as a glorious feat;

In any case, the venerable Ait Idder gives a very interesting account of his experience with the High Command.


Proposition de Plan de régionalisation

Posted in Moroccan ‘Current’ News, Moroccanology, Tiny bit of Politics by Zouhair ABH on February 20, 2010

Les orientations démocratiques et libératrices constituent le point de départ des propositions du document suivant et répondent à la constitution de la commission consultative de la régionalisation le 03 Janvier 2010 après la discours de Sa Majesté.

Ce document représente une continuité avec le mémorandum de réforme constitutionnelle rédigé le 21 Mai 2006 par le PSU, réforme constitutionnelle qu’on peut considérer être nécessaire à la dynamisation du processus démocratique au Maroc. Ceci reste le point de vue personnel d’un militant sur la question.
La régionalisation, ou plus précisément, la régionalisation du Maroc est un outil particulier dans la démocratisation et la dévolution de pouvoir au citoyen, qui obtient donc plus de pouvoir de contrôle sur les élus (nationaux et locaux), mais aussi, et surtout, en disposant de réels pouvoirs de recours face à l’administration et plus généralement aux corps non élus.

Les différentes formes de régionalisation partout dans le monde, sont autant d’expériences et de modèles intéressants sujets d’étude, et qu’il ne faut pas rejeter pour des considérations superficielles d’orgueil national. Notre histoire regroupe aussi des exemples de gestion locale, lesquelles peuvent très bien être adaptées à un système de gouvernement moderne.

Ce que nous entendons par régionalisation, et dans le principe général du concept, c’est une redéfinition intégrale de la composition des institutions du Royaume. Nous soutenons l’option fédérale. En termes généraux, les nouvelles entités territoriales créées après le référendum constitutionnel (condition nécessaire à toute reconfiguration des régions, préfectures et subdivisions administratives) auront primauté sur l’essentiel de la légitimité représentative. Un royaume fédéral, composé de régions fiscalement et juridiquement autonomes, qui à part une dizaine d’attributions –relevant donc du pouvoir fédéral- sont entièrement autonome dans l’unité. Cette option nous paraît intéressante pour les points suivants :
– un gouvernement centralisé est un reliquat du protectorat, l’histoire du Maroc nous enseigne que les institutions pré-modernes ont fonctionné longtemps sur un régime primitif de fédéralisme tribal. Nous comptons reprendre le principe d’une large autonomie aux citoyens marocains, mais en lui retirant son tribalisme/communautarisme en y substituant un fédéralisme moderne. Ainsi, notre proposition, tout en reprenant le principe de gestion locale ancré dans la pratique traditionnelle, mais en en rejetant les aspects archaïques, et en en modernisant les mécanismes pour une efficacité d’action et une réelle démocratie locale.
– le meilleur moyen pour le citoyen marocain d’exercer ses droits et devoirs conférés par sa condition propre : les citoyens marocains, en portant des représentants dans le cadre d’institutions représentatives disposant de réelles attributions, pourront discuter plus facilement avec leurs élus. Des études académiques réalisées dans d’autres pays du Tiers-monde démontrent un effet d’efficacité lorsque l’élu est responsable devant une population à taille modérée. Nous expliquons plus loin le rapport élu/corps électoral plus loin.
– en décentralisant, des institutions administratives comme les services régionaux de certains ministères, ainsi que les services de sécurité seront réformés et à leur tour régionalisés. Les attributions de chaque région étant très étendues, le contrôle des citoyens sera effectif et sur le corps représentatif, et sur la bureaucratie régionale et fédérale.

Enfin, en remettant le pouvoir aux mains du citoyen marocain, nous pourrons prétendre à l’objectif essentiel d’une force démocratique, la transformation du régime en une monarchie fédérale, parlementaire et démocratique.

I. La nécessité d’une réforme constitutionnelle comme préalable à une réelle régionalisation.
Les articles 100 et 101 de la constitution actuelle de 1996 sont trop flous à ce sujet, en tout cas, attribuent à la loi une compétence constitutionnelle dans l’organisation des régions.
Avant tout projet sérieux de régionalisation il faut une réforme constitutionnelle –telle que décrite dans le mémorandum du PSU présenté en Mai 2006-, plus particulièrement pour les articles 100 et 101. La partie constitutionnelle traitant des régions et provinces devrait comprendre un préambule –ayant légitimité constitutionnelle- confirmant le rôle essentiel des entités territoriales comme mode de gouvernement local et démocratique.
Par conséquent, nous proposons l’introduction et la consécration du principe de fédéralisme, et détaillant les attributions des régions.

Nous estimons qu’une régionalisation réelle, correspondant aux critères de démocratie locale ne peut se faire dans le cadre constitutionnel actuel. En effet, alors que l’édification d’une démocratie ‘normale’ passe par une réforme constitutionnelle, une concrétisation d’une régionalisation démocratique suppose un changement encore plus important des dispositions constitutionnelles, qui doivent incorporer un titre entièrement dédié à la définition des régions, leurs attributions et le mode de fonctionnement de leurs institutions représentatives et administratives.

Les entités territoriales que sont les régions et les provinces se définissent par les éléments géographiques, historiques et culturels communs, et dont le détail est énoncé dans la loi-cadre régissant les attributions de ces entités.

Ces régions disposeront de parlements régionaux entièrement compétents dans les domaines prévus par la constitution, sauf ceux dévolus aux autorités fédérales. Les régions œuvrent à l’unité du royaume et à son intégrité territoriale, ainsi qu’à son développement économique, sa cohésion et son harmonie sociale, à travers le libre exercice de la démocratie des droits de l’homme et de l’égalité des citoyens.

Pour ce faire, la région dispose de larges attributions juridiques, administratives et politiques donnant une autonomie certaine dans les décisions prises et appliquées, dans un cadre transparent et démocratique. Chaque région dispose d’un parlement régional, d’une représentation collégiale au parlement fédéral, ainsi que d’un exécutif local responsable devant ce parlement et, dans une moindre mesure, les autorités fédérales.
Chaque parlement dispose d’une administration locale subordonnée et appliquant ses directives.

II. La réforme administrative :
Un système fédéral suppose une réforme complète du statut de la fonction publique. Aujourd’hui, le Maroc compte à peu près 800.000 fonctionnaires répartis un peu partout sur le territoire marocain, nous proposons une simplification du statut du fonctionnaire en le subdivisant en deux grandes catégories : fonctionnaires locaux et fédéraux.
D’une manière générale, nous proposons une répartition du corps des fonctionnaires marocains de la manière qui suit : aux 140-150.000 fonctionnaires attachés aux collectivités locales, nous verserons 200 à 250.000 fonctionnaires pour constituer le corps des fonctionnaires régionaux. Les 300.000 restant environ constitueront le corps des fonctionnaires fédéraux. L’objectif général est d’obtenir un ratio d’un fédéral ou deux locaux (1/3 fédéraux, 2/3 locaux)

1) le corps fonctionnaire régional ou local : il s’agit des fonctionnaires au service des régions, lesquels les nomment ou révoquent par autorité.
Le corps des fonctionnaires régionaux comprend donc :
– les services des ministères régionaux servant les gouvernements locaux
– les services des collectivités locales (communes et mairies)
– les services de sécurité et de police (les forces de police régionale)
– les tribunaux relevant de la compétence des régions
– les services de santé et d’éducation dépendant des prérogatives régionales.
Chaque région aura latitude à gestion propre de l’organisation du corps de fonctionnaires à sa disposition, sauf pour les questions de formation initiale (relevant de l’enseignement supérieur et donc d’une des prérogatives des autorités fédérales) et dans certains cas de litige administratif.

2) les fonctionnaires fédéraux : les fonctionnaires fédéraux dépendent directement des institutions représentatives fédérales (point traité dans le rapport aux institutions représentatives locales et régionales)
Le corps des fonctionnaires fédéraux est rattaché aux services des ministères fédéraux et des services dépendants, notamment :
– les ministères du gouvernement fédéral : dont la mission est de coordiner et d’arbitrer l’action des régions. Les fonctionnaires fédéraux dépendent directement du Parlement fédéral qui peut les nommer et révoquer.
– les directions fédérales : de même que les régions sont engagées à œuvrer à l’unité, fédérale marocaine, un certain nombre de compétences doit être mutualisé, d’où le principe d’unités fédérales de coordination :
* équipement,
* éducation/enseignement supérieur et recherche scientifique,
* défense
* sécurité nationale
– les services de sécurité fédérale : en parallèle des services de police subordonnée à la région, il sera créé un corps de police fédérale responsable devant le parlement fédéral, et donc les compétences complètent celles des polices régionales lorsque ce dernier sera amené à intervenir dans telle ou telle région.
Les fonctionnaires fédéraux bénéficieront de la même formation que leurs collègues locaux, étant donnés que l’enseignement supérieur reste une prérogative centrale.

La régionalisation fédérale permettra une simplification de la gestion de la fonction publique, mais aussi, et surtout, un contrôle plus étroit et plus transparent par les représentants des citoyens sur l’administration locale et fédérale, prévenant ainsi tout risque d’abus de pouvoir.

III. Les institutions représentatives fédérales
La régionalisation fédérale que nous proposons permet une réforme complète du mode de composition de l’institution parlementaire ; En effet, tout en gardant un parlement bicaméral, nous proposons d’affecter à la haute chambre les élus fédéraux élus par suffrage universel sans rattachement à telle ou telle subdivision administrative.
L’avantage est que les représentants de partis politiques peuvent se présenter pour des sièges nationaux plutôt que d’être rattachés à une circonscription administrative.

Nous proposons, pour une représentation efficace du corps électoral, la répartition suivante :
– collectivités locales : une conscription locale pour 500 habitants
– le statut de ‘ville libre’ pour toute agglomération urbaine comptant plus de 500.000 habitants.
– un parlement fédéral reprenant le ratio d’un député pour 50.000 habitants, soit, dans le cas du Maroc, un collège électoral total de 640 députés. Répartis comme suit : 200 à 210 sièges pour le suffrage fédéral, 400 sièges environ représentant les parlements régionaux –le nombre de sièges est attribué au prorata des populations des régions- et une dizaine de sièges pour les représentants des ‘villes libres’, c’est-à-dire les agglomérations urbaines suffisamment importantes ou à forte concentration d’habitation demandant une représentation particulière et à part entière.

1). La chambre haute : les représentants des parlements régionaux
Dans le cadre de leur exercice de pouvoir local, les régions disposent de parlements propres dont les compétences et le mode d’organisation sera discuté plus loin. Le parlement fédéral est une nécessité organisationnelle et politique, dans la mesure où il représente cette unité politique et d’action des régions. En effet, la législation fédérale ayant des répercussions sur l’ensemble des régions, ces dernières peuvent et doivent envoyer des représentants pour préparer et voter cette législation. étant a chambre principale, nous proposons que les représentants régionaux disposent d’un droit de préséance–dans le sens où il s’agit de la première chambre- dans la rédaction et la préparation des lois fédérales.

Le Parlement fédéral, ainsi que le gouvernement en découlant, disposent des compétences suivantes :
– les éléments de politique étrangère sont partagés entre la Monarchie et le gouvernement fédéral
– la défense nationale et la gendarmerie dépendent du gouvernement et de la monarchie ; néanmoins, et en réaffirmant le principe d’un service militaire/civil obligatoire et universel, les régions sont en devoir de préparer les infrastructures nécessaires aux Forces Armées Royales.
– Les impôts fédéraux, à travers la discussion et le vote de la loi des finances fédérales. Principalement, il s’agit de l’impôt de solidarité et la part fédérale de l’impôt sur les personnes physiques et morales. Ces attributions seront discutées dans le point réservé au gouvernement fédéral.
– Les grands projets d’équipements et d’infrastructures transcendant les intérêts régionaux
– L’éducation et l’enseignement supérieur : les lycées et établissements supérieurs fédéraux.

2). La chambre basse : les élus fédéraux
Le principe de l’existence d’une deuxième chambre découle de l’idée d’un contrôle mutuel des pouvoirs. En effet, les élus fédéraux sont élus sur les bases d’un suffrage national, et ne sont donc pas nécessairement obligés de défendre les intérêts uniques d’une seule région, mais plutôt ceux de la fédération entière ; C’est ainsi que des élections coïncidant avec celles régionales partielles de la chambre haute seront tenues pour constituer la chambre basse, donc le rôle est de relire les propositions et projets de loi de la première chambre, ainsi que de constituer la forme continuelle des commissions fédérales d’investigation et de contrôle des institutions administratives.
Cette deuxième chambre fait une relecture des projets de lois validés par la première chambre. Nous proposons aussi l’introduction du principe de contre-projet systématique dans les cas suivants :
– le projet de la première chambre est entièrement rejeté par la deuxième chambre
– les députés de la première chambre considèrent que les amendements proposés dénaturent le projet
Dans ces deux cas, la deuxième chambre est obligée, dans les 15 Jours qui suivent le rejet du projet, de présenter un projet alternatif à soumettre à la première chambre. Si les deux chambres n’arrivent pas à se mettre d’accord sur un ou plusieurs projets de loi (c’est-à-dire après trois aller-retour d’invalidation amendement), deux autres institutions peuvent arbitrer le désaccord : le médiateur du royaume, puis, ultimement, le conseil constitutionnel assisté par la cour suprême fédérale.

3). Elections du Parlement Fédéral et composition du gouvernement fédéral

Le gouvernement fédéral tire sa légitimité des élections fédérales et de la représentation locale régionale. En partant du partage 1/3 – 2/3 des sphères fédérale et régionale, les élections régionales, en donnant une majorité de sièges au parlement régionale, permet à un ou une coalition de partis de s’assurer l’assise régionale au gouvernement formé par la suite. De même, l’élection fédérale permet au gouvernement de disposer d’un corps parlementaire plus détaché des problématiques locales.
3.1 Le Gouvernement fédéral
Le gouvernement fédéral est formé du parti ou de la coalition de partis majoritaire dans les deux chambres après les élections fédérales et régionales partielles. Sa Majesté le Roi demande au chef ou représentant du ou des partis majoritaires de former un gouvernement fédéral en son nom, et édite un Dahir officialisant la formation du gouvernement ; les ministres et secrétaires d’Etat, proposés par le premier ministre, sont aussi nommés dans ce même Dahir.
Les tâches du gouvernement fédéral du Royaume sont celles de la définition, de l’application et du contrôle du programme électoral sur lequel la/les formation(s) majoritaire(s) s’est/sont engagé(s) auprès des citoyens marocains, d’appliquer pour développer la démocratie, l’économie et la société marocaine. Le gouvernement s’engage aussi à coordonner les différentes actions régionales et d’arbitrer les différends entre régions.

4). Le médiateur du Royaume
Le médiateur du Royaume est nommé par Dahir sur proposition conjointe du Parlement et du gouvernement ; il est assisté par une commission composée de membres de la société civile, nommément :
– les associations de défense des droits de l’Homme
– les associations de défense des consommateurs
– les associations de lutte pour la moralisation de la vie publique
– les associations de défense de l’environnement
– les syndicats professionnels et fédérations professionnelles
La mission essentielle du médiateur est de trouver des arrangements à l’amiable entre individus et administrations, entre administrations et institutions, et entre les institutions elles-mêmes plutôt que de porter le litige directement devant les tribunaux.

IV. Les “super-départements” administratifs
Les institutions représentatives, pour fonctionner normalement et s’assurer de l’application de leurs programmes électoraux, se voient affecter un corps administratif entièrement subordonné et responsable devant son autorité.
A côté des ministères fédéraux, les entités suivantes dépendent non pas d’un seul département ministériel, mais de l’ensemble du gouvernement, dans la configuration proposée dans le point traitant des prérogatives gouvernementales.
– L’équipement et les infrastructures de base passent sous la compétence de la commission fédérale de l’équipement, regroupant des représentants des ministères concernés, de membres des parlements régionaux, des sociétés et intervenants dans l’élaboration, l’exécution et le contrôle des ouvrages d’infrastructure de base
– L’enseignement supérieur, la formation initiale de la fonction publique, la recherche scientifique, c’est-à-dire les grandes unités de laboratoires et instituts spécialisés de recherche sont gérés par les autorités fédérales, composées d’un collège de scientifiques et de chercheur, de représentants du ministère fédéral de l’enseignement et de la recherche, et des sociétés et/ou intervenants finançant et soutenant les projets de recherche et d’éducation.
– Le département des finances fédérales et conjointement géré par la Banque Centrale, le Ministère fédéral des finances et la commission financière publique du Parlement fédéral et du conseil fédéral de l’économie et des finances
Le corps de fonctionnaires attachés à ces unités est un amalgame des fonctionnaires fédéraux –dépendant des ministères et du parlement- et des fonctionnaires locaux détachés par leurs gouvernements et parlements régionaux.
– Le département de la santé publique et conjointement dirigé par le ministère fédéral de la santé, le ministère fédéral des finances, de représentants de l’ordre fédéral des médecins, de la commission parlementaire fédérale du bien-être et de la santé publique, ainsi que d’experts en domaines reliés à la santé.
– Le département télécommunications et des nouvelles technologies : composé de représentants de la Poste fédérale, du collège des représentants des postes régionales, du ministère fédéral des communications, et de l’ensemble des entreprises de télécommunications opérants sur le territoire marocain.
Les super-départements administratifs sont ainsi les outils de coordination des actions régionales et fédérales, et permettent à tous les acteurs d’agir et contribuer dans les processus de prise de décision et d’application.

V. Parlement et gouvernement régionaux
Le Parlement régional observe les mêmes règles de fonctionnement que le parlement fédéral, et a compétence dans les domaines suivants :
– Maintien de l’ordre et sécurité régionale : les forces de police locale sont subordonnées à la commission des affaires intérieures régionales du parlement. Cette commission nomme le commissaire régional commandant les forces de police et le fait régulièrement passer par un comité d’enquête et de rapport, public, obligatoire et mensuel. Le parlement, à travers cette commission, nomme aussi le staff du commissaire régional sur proposition de ce dernier.
– Fiscalité locale et finances régionales : le parlement vote et amende la loi de finance de la région. Les sources de financement des régions sont intérieures par la fiscalité locale, et des ressources extérieures par la redistribution de l’impôt fédéral de solidarité.
La fiscalité locale englobe :
– les impôts locaux : pour simplifier la collecte des taxes, et pour assurer une meilleure transparence de la circulation de l’impôt public, nous proposons un ‘package’ unifié d’impôts, à index mixte (base fixe et taux progressif) dont la détermination des critères technique reste à la discrétion de la loi de finance du parlement régional :
* Impôt de financement de la collectivité, regroupant la taxe d’habitation, la taxe de propreté, les redevances multimédias
* impôt sur les transactions commerciales (abolition de la TVA pour un impôt à taux bas et à assiette élargie)
* impôt-part régionale sur les revenus
* impôt-pénalité sur l’utilisation d’énergies polluantes
Chaque parlement régional garde la liberté de fixer les taux d’imposition, sous la contrainte de maintenir un déficit inférieur à 5% du PIB régional sur une durée de 3 lois de finance successives (auquel cas, la Cour Suprême Fédérale peut, à la demande du département des finances fédérales, soumettre la région défaillante à un plan d’austérité, et à une perte temporaire de certaines attributions d’autonomie).
– Juridiction locale : Le domaine juridique de la région est très étendu, et toutes les lois sont constitutionnellement valides tant qu’elles n’empiètent pas sur les attributions fédérales, lesquelles sont définies in extenso dans la constitution. Dans le cadre des principes généraux de la constitution marocaine et des lois fédérales ; Dans le cas d’un litige fédéral/régional, la cour suprême fédérale puis le conseil constitutionnel sont réputés juridiction de référence. La hiérarchie des législations oblige les régions à légiférer dans le cadre constitutionnel, et en accord avec les lois fédérales ; Cependant, si un parlement régional estime qu’une loi fédérale est anti-constitutionnelle, ou qu’elle empiète sur le domaine régional, il peut saisir la cour suprême fédérale pour invalider les actions fédérales.
La juridiction locale concerne principalement les modalités d’application des programmes électoraux régionaux, outre le cadre fiscal, le parlement régional peut légiférer en droit économique, administratif et des contrats.
– Politique intérieure générale : Sur des domaines moins importants, la région a complète autonomie –sauf contradiction avec les dispositions constitutionnelles- sur les domaines suivants :
* éducation primaire
* les moyens de communication et la poste à l’intérieur de la région
* les hôpitaux et infrastructures sanitaires de taille modeste ou moyenne
* équipement et infrastructures des villes et agglomérations mineurs
* les loisirs et culture.
Le parlement régional nomme et contrôle étroitement le gouvernement régional, ainsi que les fonctionnaires nommés par ce dernier. Les modalités de fonctionnement d’un gouvernement fédéral sont sensiblement identiques à celles de l’autorité fédérale.