The question of state sustainability is highly relevant in the case of Morocco. Despite the image of a modernising and liberalising country, Morocco is undergoing a delicate phase in its development. The recent upheavals in the Maghreb and the Middle East, alongside the growing problems of poor education and high unemployment are likely to bring to the surface the unsustainable elements of Morocco’s status quo. The central issues concern the quality of institutions, reforms aimed at promoting the rule of law, curbing corruption and overhauling the judiciary. This paper will argue that while institutional quality is a pre-requisite for successful and sustainable socio-economic performance, this cannot be achieved unless major reforms in the political system are carried out. There is a window of opportunity to accelerate reforms and to address the acute centralisation of Moroccan politics and decision-making, the lack of accountability of the monarchic institutions, as well as the fragility of representative bodies, such as parties and trade unions. Seizing this opportunity could spare Morocco a period of instability, while also assuring continuity in the transition that began in 1999, when the new king came to power.
Paper produced in the context of the MedPro (Mediterranean Prospects) project, funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Research Programme. Revised version published in: Silvia Colombo and Nathalie Tocci (eds), The Challenges of State Sustainability in the Mediterranean, Roma, Nuova Cultura, September 2011, p. 161-191 (IAI Research Paper 3).
1. Prioritising economic development
2. A mixed socio-economic performance
3. State-society relations and the challenge of political participation
4. Possible scenarios for the future