By HANI ELMOKHTAR
The Monarchy is the key of Moroccan miracle, as explained by the French writer Jean-Claude Martinez in his recent book. The authorhighlights the merits of a stabilizing King who saved his country in particular from violent winds of Arab spring.
There is no miracle in politics. However, there are exceptions, i.e. odd situations but explainable because, unlike miracles, they have causes. Such is the case that we used to call « the Moroccan exception ». In fact, it is really an exception. While in the beginning of 2011, some autocracies believed irremovable in Egypt and Tunisia collapse in few hours due to the big wind of Arab spring, Morocco bends without break and takes advantage of the opportunity in order to accelerate the pace of reforms and rejuvenate its constitutional system. Similarly, when the JDP Islamists won the legislative elections in autumn 2011 and head the Cabinet, the kingdom did not witness neither the troubles caused in Tunisia or in Egypt by the victory of Ennahda and Islamic brothers nor the abominable civil war that bled Algeria for years after the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front in 1991. Instead, we see a peacefultransfer of power according to “ a well-organized procedure with a modesty that shows in a symbolic manner that things go as ordinary and election results have no revolutionary dimension” as underlined by Jean Claude Martinez in the Stabilizing King, a book published in the aftermath of Tunis assault.
The turning point of modernity
In this essay whose title is meaningful, the author, a former European deputy and also an ancient director of studies at the Administration National School in Rabat aims in particular to answer the question above mentioned: what would be the causes of this amazing Moroccan exception? According to Jean-Claude Martinez, it is clear that an answer is required: it is the presence of the King. After building Morocco during a millennialhistory, the Monarchy enables him to take the turning point of modernity in a careful and resolute way. Martinez confirms that without the monarchy institution, the country would collapse overnight. “It is not necessary to be a big futurologist in order to know what would happen in less than one hundred days if a political pipe dream generated by a new spring replaces centuries of monarchic stability by some weeks of participative democracy adventure”.
The Commander of the believers
The purpose of the book is mainly to highlight how and in what the king of Morocco produces such effect. According to Martinez, this effect is caused firstly by his temporal and spiritual dimension – formerly confirmed in the famous article 19 of the Constitution, which was for decades the pet hate for the progressive- and which constitutes according to him the big force of the system. On the spiritual plane, the monarch is qualified as Amir Al Mouminine, the Commander of the believers. By this way, the Moroccan monarch can promote a moderate understanding of Islam proposed by the Malekite School. As a result, he is considered as a necessary “religious stabilizer”. Nowadays, he is a major counterweight to “the Caliphate fascination”. Nevertheless, this role enables the King to be a “social stabilizer” as well, as shown in the beginning of 2000 when he imposed, against a fundamentalist approach, a relative opened and liberal vision of the women condition and a “political or geopolitical stabilizer” in a strategic area for both Africa and Europe. As a king, whose legitimacy is rooted in the tradition and history and not in the chance of volatile wills more or less constraint, he wins the consensus and duration.