Morocco's five million voters, headed by King Hassan, went to the polls on Wednesday in a national referendum on a new constitution.
Morocco's five million voters, headed by King Hassan, went to the polls on Wednesday in a national referendum on a new constitution. If approved, the constitution will be Morocco's third in nine years.
A big majority of voters are expected to cast "yes" votes, as they did in the July 1970 referendum, when only 1.3 per cent voted "no". None of the major political groups have used the ten-day campaign to oppose the constitutional proposals, though some have demanded a boycott, claiming previous polls had been rigged.
Under the new constitution, the king would hand over full executive powers to the government and substantial legislative powers to parliament. Two-thirds of parliament would be elected by direct suffrage instead of one-third, as at present.
SYNOPSIS: Rabat, capital of Morocco, where thousands of Moroccans flocked to polling stations on Wednesday to vote in a nationwide referendum. The Moroccan people were voting to accept or reject constitutional changes that would transfer power from the king to the government, and give the people more say in choosing members of parliament. Observers were predicting a massive majority of "yes" votes.
When the last referendum was held two years ago, fewer than two per cent returned negative votes. Major political groups are once again calling for a boycott - they claim previous polls have been rigged - but none used the ten-day campaign period to attack the proposals for changing the constitution.
King Hassan was one of the early voters. The scheme to transfer power from the monarchy has come just eight months after the abortive military coup, when troops tried to overthrow the king.