In Morocco, and amendment to the constitution, extending the term of parliament from four to six years, has been adopted by a majority of 96.74 percent in a national referendum, according to final figures released on Saturday (31 May) by the Interior Ministry.
GV Crowd at referendum rally with banners and portraits of King Hassan
CU Referendum poster on wall
SV TOP SHOT crowds at rally (2 shots)
SV Men queuing outside polling station
CU PAN Women queuing to vote (2 shots)
CU Men showing identity cards on doorway of polling station
CU Women collecting ballot papers and walking to booth
CU Man placing ballot paper in box. Another man goes to booth and then puts ballot paper in box (4 shots)
GV PAN Large crowd at rally (3 shots)
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Background: In Morocco, and amendment to the constitution, extending the term of parliament from four to six years, has been adopted by a majority of 96.74 percent in a national referendum, according to final figures released on Saturday (31 May) by the Interior Ministry. Voting took place on Friday. The result means that the 1981 parliamentary elections will be postponed until 1983.
SYNOPSIS: The referendum campaign was a massive show of support for King Hassan, who had called for the changes to the constitution in a nationwide broadcast. He told the people of Morocco that he wanted to avoid what he called "unnecessary electoral battles" at a time when the country had to be united.
It was the second time in a week that the Moroccans had been to the polls to approve changes in the constitution. In the first poll, they gave almost unanimous support in favour of an amendment making it possible for the King's successor to ascent the throne at the age of 16. That change has prompted speculation that King Hassan might be contemplating abdication if he was ever forced to negotiate with the Polisario over the issue of the Western Sahara.
More than 91 percent of Morocco's voters turned out for the second vote. Two of the country's three minority parties had campaigned against a "yes" vote. They claimed the election which returned the present parliament had been "irregular", and the amendment to the constitution would prolong the mandate of a "reactionary regime".
Even while voting was taking place, the rallies continued in the streets of Rabat. Such displays gave public support to the King in his call for the country to be mobilised to deal with the conflict over the Western Sahara.