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Morocco picks early elections date

Polls to be held in mid November following cross-party talks.

Morocco king mohammed vote reforms 2011 7 1Enlarge
Morocco King Mohammed VI leaves a polling booth to vote in a referendum on curbing his near absolute powers on July 1, 2011 in Rabat. The King has offered reforms following protests inspired by pro-democracy uprisings around the Arab world. (Abdelhak Senna/AFP/Getty Images)

Morocco's government says it wants to hold early parliamentary elections in November, to follow through on a raft of constitutional reforms aimed at reducing the risk of an uprising.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees elections, put forward November 11 as the date following discussions with several Moroccan political parties, who had been arguing that more time was needed to prepare a credible vote.

Elections were originally scheduled for September 2012. King Mohammed VI has said he prefers swifter elections to allow Morocco to form a new government.

Communication Minister and government spokesman Khalid Naciri told Reuters the Interior Ministry had proposed November 11 as a “tentative date” for early polls:

Now the parties and the ministry will need to agree on the election system that needs to be adopted, the election laws and whether we should have separate national lists for (electing) women and young people.

In a referendum last month, Morocco voted overwhelmingly in favor of constitutional reforms that will see the king hand some of his powers to parliament. But he retained the right to choose the prime minister from the winning party, and to oversee religious matters and the judiciary.

(Read more on GlobalPost: Constitutional reforms spark debate in Morocco)

The reforms were largely in response to protests being staged by the February 20th Movement, which is demanding a parliamentary monarchy in Morocco.

King Mohammed, 47, has ruled Morocco since 1999.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/morocco/110815/morocco-king-mohammed-elections