The seven-month protest movement has shaken the northern Moroccan city of Al Hoceima, as a result of the failed policies of former prime minister Abdelilah Benkirane’s Islamist government, has finally led to a real political earthquake. The king fired four key ministers, including the former state strongman, the interior minister. He also banned several senior officials, including two former cabinet members, from holding public office. What happened is not an impulsive act; rather, it is part of a process aimed at building accountable institutions.
The “Hirak,” the protest movement in Al Hoceima, has focused on the unfulfilled promises of a program that was initially designed to make the city an influential hub in the Mediterranean region. Many projects under this program, which fell under the responsibility of several ministers of the former government, were still at their embryonic stage.
The king chose to act within the framework of the constitution. He first expressed his dissatisfaction in June at a cabinet meeting, during which he called for the creation of a commission of inquiry to identify incompetent officials. During his Throne Speech in July, he castigated political parties and public institutions for their inability to meet the needs of the people. Finally, at the opening of the year’s first parliament session, the monarch once again singled out accountability as the underlying principle of this political earthquake.