“Pluralistic Middle East” Lecture Series | Driss Maghraoui: The Predicament of Democracy in Morocco: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

On the afternoon of November 2nd, 2020, Prof. Driss Maghraoui, Professor of Middle East Studies at Al Akhawayn University, conveyed an online lecture on the theme of “The Predicament of Democracy in Morocco: A Multidisciplinary Perspective” online for doctorate candidates at Institute of International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) as well as scholars from and beyond IIAS. It is also the fourth session of “Pluralistic Middle East” Lecture Series hosted by IIAS. Ding Chenxi, a PhD in Law candidate of Tsinghua University, presided over the event.

Prof. Driss Maghraoui focused on two topics in this lecture: How has the Moroccan monarchy evolved into today’s political system? And what causes Morocco’s predicament of democracy? He pointed out that Morocco’s Alaouite family is different from that of Gulf countries, because Morocco is not a Rentier state, so Alaouites must constantly adapt to the trend of modern society and the process of modernization, and make changes when necessary to stabilize their regime. Meanwhile, he mentioned out that Morocco’s current predicament of democracy is the result of the combination of many factors, including the sequelae of colonial period, the shackles of traditional political culture, the nationalism and multi-party system under monarchy. He also reviewed the long-term formation of Morocco’s current predicament of democracy, believing that the king has never given up his privileges and instead has continuously consolidated his position in the changing political system.

In the Q&A session, Prof Driss Maghraoui explored the relationship between Morocco’s constitution and modern society, Morocco and the Arab Spring, the role of the king in major national events, Morocco’s Islamic parties and other issues in response to the questions raised by the audience, which highly recognized Prof. Maghraoui’s expertise and logic.

Graduated from the University of California with With PhD in History, Prof. Driss Maghraoui is Professor of Middle East Studies at Al Akhawayn University. His research interests include Moroccan history, Islamic culture and North African politics.

By: Zhang Yuan