2011 will no doubt go down in history as the year when the Arab peoples rose up against the dictatorships and autocracies that had, post-independence, become the exclusive model of governance in this part of the world. The demands for freedom and democracy, denominated the Arab Spring, had a domino effect and soon called into question the myth of Moroccan exceptionality. The calls for democracy first expressed in Tunisia and Egypt, were rapidly internalized in Morocco and given voice to by young internet users who, though political aware, formed part of none of the country's political parties. Together they would become the 20th February Movement, a collective that would take up the old constitutional, political and moralizing demands of the historic opposition parties and champion the cause of a parliamentary monarchy.
Under the pretext of undertaking a new phase in the process of regionalisation announced in January 2010, in a speech on March 9th, King Mohammed VI defined the Moroccan regime's response to this new political context: a roadmap of reforms. In this speech, he announced among other things, a bold constitutional reform which would increase the powers of the prime minister who henceforth would be selected from the party with the most seats in parliament, would broaden individual and collective freedoms, would apply the recommendations of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER), would enshrine the independence of the justice system and officially recognise minorities, especially the Amazigh minority.