France holds up Morocco as model for Arab Spring reforms
Moroccan police officers chase demonstrators as they break up a rally organized by the 20th February, the Moroccan Arab Spring movement in Casablanca, Morocco, Sunday May 29, 2011. (AP / Abdeljalil Bounhar)
Published Friday, March 9, 2012 6:59AM EST
RABAT, Morocco - The French foreign minister has held up Morocco as a model for the pro-democratic reforms of the Arab Spring.
Alain Juppe told a press conference Friday during a visit to Morocco that the country was "on the road to democratization."
The North African kingdom, ruled by a hereditary monarch with total power, amended its constitution over the summer to increase the powers of the prime minister and the parliament.
The move appeared to have defused the widespread protests over corruption and lack of freedoms in the country.
An opposition Islamist party dominated November elections and leads the new government, but its powers are closely circumscribed by the king's powerful court.
France is a close economic and political ally of Morocco.