Morocco has often been presented by observers as one of the exceptions of the “Arab Spring”. It was able to pre-empt and stave off popular protests led by the February 20th Movement in 2011 by promulgating a new constitution that paved the way for political and economic liberalization. A moderate Islamist party, Justice and Development, came to power following the first free elections in the country. The new political reforms, welcomed by the population and the international community, were nonetheless slow to be established by law, and did not prevent a part of the population from feeling economically and socially marginalized. In particular, there has been a marked clampdown on liberties since 2014. By 2016 a new wave of popular protests, locally known as the Hirak, has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets, joined by labor unions and students. The arrival of a new government in 2017 has favored the resumption of dialogue, but tripartite discussions carried out throughout 2018 on wages and social rights between trade unions, employers and the government have not yet led to any agreement, as each stakeholder stands firmly on their positions.
In the context of social unrest and unresolved grievances, it is crucial for traditional and new actors in the Moroccan civil society to join forces and promote constructive dialogue with the government, aimed at providing peaceful and viable solutions to the population’s demands.