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Moroccan Parliament obtains ‘Partner for Democracy’ status with PACE

In a resolution adopted today, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided to grant “Partner for Democracy” status to the Parliament of Morocco. This is the first parliament to be awarded this new status, created by PACE in January 2010 (1).

Endorsing the conclusions of the rapporteur on this question, Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD), PACE considered that “the request by the Parliament of Morocco meets the formal criteria set forth in its Rules of Procedure”. It said that the Speakers of both Chambers of the Moroccan parliament had undertaken to pursue their efforts “to raise the awareness of the public authorities and the main players in politics and civil society of the need to make progress in the discussion of […] the death penalty” and to continue “to encourage the authorities concerned to maintain the de facto moratorium that has been established on executions of the death penalty since 1993.” They had also committed themselves to ensuring that “favourable conditions can be established for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections”, to promoting “the balanced participation of women and men in public life and politics” and to encouraging “the authorities concerned to accede to relevant Council of Europe conventions and partial agreements that can be signed and ratified by non-member states”.

At the same time, the Assembly welcomed Morocco’s commitment to “deep constitutional, institutional, political and legal reforms”. In this context, PACE proposes a series of specific measures it regards as essential for strengthening democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Morocco. It has also decided to review, no later than two years from now, the stage achieved in implementing the political commitments taken by the Moroccan Parliament and to assess the progress made in the reforms.

It also encouraged the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in co-ordination as appropriate with the European Union, “to mobilise the Organisation’s expertise, including that of the Venice Commission, with a view to contributing to the full implementation of democratic reforms in Morocco, in particular in the framework of the forthcoming constitutional reform”.