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From One Chamber to Two: The Case of Morocco

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In the mid-1990s, Morocco shifted from a unicameral to bicameral parliament, thereby highlighting the role of the parliament in the nation's self-declared democratisation project. While many scholars of Morocco have examined the political process surrounding the constitutional ratification of this new institution, little attention has been paid to the institutional implications of the cameral shift. In legislative studies, there has been a resurgence of interest in bicameralism, but little attention has been paid to bicameralism as it relates to ongoing democratisation processes. Accordingly, this article seeks to fill the void in both Moroccan and legislative studies, focusing on the role that Morocco's bicameral parliament plays in ending a zero-sum game between the opposition and centre-right forces; creating enough political space for an opposition-led government to take power; strengthening the multi-party system; expanding representation; and reassuring ambivalent parties that the democratisation process will not unduly threaten their interests. All of these elements support Morocco's incremental democratisation effort and add to our understanding of bicameralism as a component of such an effort.

Keywords: Bicameralism; Constitution; Morocco; democratisation; institutional implications; unicameralism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001


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