The Parliament of Morocco towards amending the organic law on petitions

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The Parliament of Morocco towards amending the organic law on petitions

November 02nd, 2020

Right before the pandemic closed the airways, in February this year, I had the privilege of speaking at an event hosted by the House of Representatives to discuss the work of their Petitions Committee. The event was attended by the Speaker, parliamentarians and a wide range of civil society organisations and diplomatic agencies eager to participate in discussions on how the Parliament of Morocco can proceduralise public petitions effectively.

A lot has happened since this event. As the world went into lockdown all of the passionate pleas and principle agreements for fostering constructive civil society engagement hung in the air. I was not sure what this radical shift in context would mean for the integration of these charged normative agreements on parliamentary actions and processes.

 

WFD’s event on Participatory Democracy (motions & petitions) in partnership with the Moroccan House of Representatives in February 2020. 

Yet, months later, I learn that the Petitions Committee plans to pick up where we left off and consult with parliamentary groups and parliamentary caucuses on how to amend the country’s Organic Law on Petitions and Motions. The Petitions Committee still plans to review the legal framework to facilitate greater levels of public submissions and expand the nature and form these submissions can take.

A review of the legal framework seeks to consider whether to enable petitioners to attend and present their petition in plenary sessions, which would be a radical departure from existing rules and practices. The Petitions Committee will also discuss whether to allow any MP to move motions for legislative amendments and advocate for the petition before the Board of the House, irrespective of whether they sit on the committee which with it refers. 

This is a great next step that I will track closely. ‘Progress not perfection’ is a saying not often used in democratic circles as it implies we are happy with sub-standard outcomes for citizens, yet when it comes to shifting centuries of practice and untangling the complex dynamics of direct versus representative democracy for fostering legitimacy, progress is often the perfect outcome.

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