Spain hails Moroccan reforms

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Spain's prime minister Thursday welcomed "very positively" sweeping reforms announced by Morocco's King Mohammed VI.

"They are wide-ranging reforms, which affect the government, parliament, judicial system, reforms that we welcome positively, very positively," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said.

"This is a very good path, these democratic reforms widen political representation, so that it is a government of maximum executive powers," he told a joint news conference with visiting Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

In an address late Wednesday, Morocco's king announced that the prime minister would be popularly elected, and not a royal appointment, with real powers.

He also pledged "expanded individual and collective liberties and the reinforcement of human rights in all dimensions" and spoke of the "will to set up an independent judiciary."

The monarch said a commission would work on constitutional revisions, with proposals to be made by June and put to a referendum.

Relations have been tense between Madrid and Rabat in recent years, largely over Spain's disputed north African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and over the separatist conflict in former Spanish colony of the Western Sahara.

© 2011 AFP

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