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Morocco: The sacred status of the king

In Morocco, the king bears the title Emir Al-Moumimin, literally “Commander of the faithful”, and is descended from the Alaouite dynasty, in turn descended from the prophet Mohammed. This prestigious designation confers a sacred status that is rarely questioned.

For centuries, the king has based his power not on the army, but on what in Morocco is called the Makhzen. The word has now passed into common use and means the Moroccan state apparatus, in other words, Mohamed VI’s closest advisors who are to be found in all key areas (police, civil service, intelligence, business).

With the rise of the new political order that began in the early ‘90s, Islamism is gaining influence over Moroccan politics, including the king. Since 20th February, the movement bearing that name has brought thousands of young people onto the streets, forced the king’s hand and brought about constitutional reform, the beginnings of an inevitable process of change for the Sharifian monarchy.