Monday, October 03, 2005

Moroccan Reforms

The New York Times has a feature on allegedly democratic reform in Morocco. I would go farther than Jonathan Edelstein and suggest there there's next to no "democratization" at all. What you have here is a ruthless monarch being replaced by a more benevolent one whose strategy is to split the reform camp by making social reformers allies of the monarchy. Thanks to Muhammad VI's women's rights initiatives, for example, people whose primary interest is feminism must think twice about throwing the door open to full democratic reform that could easily bring an Islamist government to power. At the same time, such democracy as is allowed conspicuously doesn't threaten the power of the monarchy in any way. All this truth commission stuff is pretty much as Jonathan says it is. One effect of all this might be that people feel free to criticize the current regime more because the lid on criticizing the monarchy and its initiatives is off, but as people in Egypt know, that's a long way from anything resembling democracy.


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