Roundtable Addresses Moroccan Citizens’ Legislative Initiatives and Participation

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November 2013

On September 27, the Moroccan civil society organization (CSO) L’Espace Asociatif, with the support of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), organized a public roundtable on citizens’ legislative initiatives. Held at the national public library in Rabat and attended by about 45 CSO representatives and citizens, the roundtable is a continuation of L’Espace Asociatif’s efforts to encourage greater citizen participation as stipulated in the country’s 2011 constitution.

The July roundtable allowed participants to discuss and advocate for the alignment of Morocco’s laws with the constitutional gender-parity provisions.

Held at the national public library in Rabat and attended by about 45 CSO representatives and citizens, the roundtable is a continuation of L’Espace Asociatif’s efforts to encourage greater citizen participation as stipulated in the country’s 2011 constitution.

The constitution has provisions that allow citizens to introduce legislation for adoption by Morocco’s parliament. To support the implementation of these provisions, L’Espace Asociatif, with ABA ROLI support, has been working on educating CSOs on citizen participation, drafting a law that will govern citizen participation and advocating for the law’s passage.

ABA ROLI expert Dr. Matt Qvortrup, one of the foremost international citizens’ initiatives and citizens’ legislative initiatives experts, and professor Mohammad Madani, a renowned constitutional scholar in Morocco and a member of the L’Espace Asociatif committee drafting the legislation, were among the panelists.

The roundtable addressed the ways that citizens’ initiatives and citizens’ legislative initiatives lead to greater political participation, enable direct democracy and contribute to better legislation and governance. The experts framed the major issues surrounding the types of citizens’ initiatives, policy implications that follow and how CSOs in other contexts have used such initiatives as advocacy tools. Presentations were followed by discussions on how to best apply a citizen’s initiative in Morocco.

The roundtable provided a forum for raising awareness on citizens’ initiatives and for building consensus in preparation for L’Espace Asociatif’s upcoming campaign to advocate for the adoption of the draft citizen-participation law.

To learn more about our work in Morocco, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.

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