It is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses; its chief of state and head of government is the king, assisted by the prime minister.
The Berbers entered Morocco near the end of the 2nd millennium BC.
Morocco was a French protectorate from 1912 until its independence in 1956.
Attempts at mediation by the international community met with little success.
Geography Morocco - Location: Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Western Sahara Geographic coordinates: 32 00 N, 5 00 W Map references: Africa Area: total: 446,550 sq km land: 446,300 sq km water: 250 sq km Area - comparative: slightly larger than California Land boundaries: total: 2,017.9 km border countries: Algeria 1,559 km, Western Sahara 443 km, Spain (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Spain (Melilla) 9.6 km Coastline: 1,835 km Maritime claims: contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive economic zone: 200 NM Climate: Mediterranean, becoming more extreme in the interior Terrain: northern coast and interior are mountainous with large areas of bordering plateaus, intermontane valleys, and rich coastal plains Elevation extremes: lowest point: Sebkha Tah -55 m highest point: Jbel Toubkal 4,165 m Natural resources: phosphates, iron ore, manganese, lead, zinc, fish, salt Land use: arable land: 20.12% permanent crops: 2.05% other: 77.83% (1998 est.) Irrigated land: 12,910 sq km (1998 est.) Natural hazards: northern mountains geologically unstable and subject to earthquakes; periodic droughts Environment - current issues: land degradation/desertification (soil erosion resulting from farming of marginal areas, overgrazing, destruction of vegetation); water supplies contaminated by raw sewage; siltation of reservoirs; oil pollution of coastal waters Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea Geography - note: strategic location along Strait of Gibraltar People Morocco Population: 31,167,783 (July 2002 est.) Age structure: 0-14 years: 33.8% (male 5,364,948; female 5,166,666) 15-64 years: 61.5% (male 9,518,503; female 9,640,292) 65 years and over: 4.7% (male 661,054; female 816,320) (2002 est.) Population growth rate: 1.68% (2002 est.) Birth rate: 23.69 births/1,000 population (2002 est.) Death rate: 5.86 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.) Net migration rate: -1.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.) Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/ female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2002 est.) Infant mortality rate: 46.49 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.) Life expectancy at birth: total population: 69.73 years female: 72.08 years (2002 est.) male: 67.49 years Total fertility rate: 2.97 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.03% (1999 est.) HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA AIDS: HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA Nationality: noun: Moroccan(s) adjective: Moroccan Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 99.1%, other 0.7%, Jewish 0.2% Religions: Muslim 98.7%, Christian 1.1%, Jewish 0.2% Languages: Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often the language of business, government, and diplomacy Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 43.7% male: 56.6% female: 31% (1995 est.) Government Morocco Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Morocco conventional short form: Morocco local short form: Al Maghrib local long form: Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah Government type: constitutional monarchy Capital: Rabat Administrative divisions: 37 provinces and 2 wilayas*; Agadir, Al Hoceima, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Ben Slimane, Boulemane, Casablanca*, Chaouen, El Jadida, El Kelaa des Sraghna, Er Rachidia, Essaouira, Fes, Figuig, Guelmim, Ifrane, Kenitra, Khemisset, Khenifra, Khouribga, Laayoune, Larache, Marrakech, Meknes, Nador, Ouarzazate, Oujda, Rabat-Sale*, Safi, Settat, Sidi Kacem, Tanger, Tan-Tan, Taounate, Taroudannt, Tata, Taza, Tetouan, Tiznit note: three additional provinces of Ad Dakhla (Oued Eddahab), Boujdour, and Es Smara as well as parts of Tan-Tan and Laayoune fall within Moroccan-claimed Western Sahara; decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature in March 1997 created many new provinces/ regions; specific details and scope of the reorganization not yet available Independence: 2 March 1956 (from France) National holiday: Throne Day (accession of King MOHAMED VI to the throne), 30 July (1999) Constitution: 10 March 1972, revised 4 September 1992, amended (to create bicameral legislature) September 1996 Legal system: based on Islamic law and French and Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of Supreme Court Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal Executive branch: chief of state: King MOHAMED VI (since 23 July 1999) head of government: Prime Minister Abderrahmane YOUSSOUFI (since 14 March 1998) cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of an upper house or Chamber of Counselors (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates for nine-year terms; one-third of the members are renewed every three years) and a lower house or Chamber of Representatives (325 seats; members elected by popular vote for five- year terms) elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held 15 September 2000 (next to be held NA 2002); Chamber of Representatives - last held 14 November 1997 (next to be held NA November 2002) election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - NA; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - USFP 57, UC 50, RNI 46, MP 40, MDS 32, IP 32, MNP 19, PND 10, MPCD 9, PPS 9, FFD 9, PSD 5, OADP 4, PA 2, PDI 1 Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch) Political parties and leaders: Action Party or PA [Muhammad EL IDRISSI]; Avant Garde Social Democratic Party or PADS [Abderrahman BENAMROU]; Citizen's Forces [Abderrahman LAJOUJI]; Constitutional Union or CU [Mohamed ABIED (interim)]; Democratic Forces Front or FFD [Thami EL KHYARI]; Democratic Socialist Party or PSD [Eissa OUARDIGHI]; Democratic Party for Independence or PDI [Abd al Wahid AL MAASH]; Democratic Union or UD [Bouazza IKKEN]; Istiqlal Party or IP [Abbas El FASSI]; Moroccan Liberal Party [Mohamed ZIANE]; National Democratic Party or PND [Abdallah KADIRI]; National Popular Movement or MNP [Mahjoubi AHERDANE]; National Rally of Independents or RNI [Ahmed OSMAN]; Organization of Democratic and Popular Action or OADP [Mohamed Ben Said AIT IDDER]; Party of Justice and Development or PJD (note - formerly the Popular Constitutional and Democratic Movement or MPCD) [Dr.
a kingdom in NW Africa: formed from a sultanate that was divided into two protectorates (French Morocco and Spanish Morocco) and an international zone. Gradual political reforms in the 1990s resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature in 1997.
Morocco had been relatively free from political violence following the suicide bombings in May 2003 in Casablanca, but by 2007 the potential for violence had flared once again.
There was growing frustration with the government, which was unable to address the poor economic situation. cultural centre came under attack when two suicide bombers (brothers) detonated their explosives near the buildings.