Mohammed VI (Morocco)

Sidi Mohammed, eldest son of Morocco’s King Hassan II, was born in Rabat on August 21, 1963. His mother was a commoner and never given a title, referred to only as « mother of the royal children ».

In 1985, he obtained his B.A in law at the Rabat Mohammed V University. His research project was on « the Arab-African Union and the Strategy of the Kingdom of Morocco in matters of International Relations. »

In 1987, he obtained his higher education degree in political sciences. To complete his training, he underwent as of November 1988 a few-months training in Brussels with Jacques Delors, then President of the European Commission. In 1993, he got the title of Doctor in law at the French University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis for his thesis on « EEC-Maghreb Relations. »

Since 1974, he started representing the late King Hassan II (who ruled from 1961 to 1999) at different international occasions, the first one having been the religious ceremony celebrated at the « Notre Dame de Paris » Cathedral in the memory of French President Georges Pompidou.

Although not married (the Moroccan dynastic tradition normaly requires the head of state to be wed), Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed came to the throne the day of his father death, on July 23th 1999, under the name of Mohammed VI, becoming the 18th king of the Sharifian dynasty since 1664. His heir to the throne is now his younger brother, Prince Mulai Rashid.

Following a Moroccan tradition when a new king is enthroned, Mohammed VI on July 30 pardoned a record 7,988 prisoners and ordered their release while reducing the prison terms of 38,224 others. Some of them seemingly belong to the banned Muslim fundamentalist group Adl wal Ihsane (Justice and Charity) lead by Sheikh Abdeslam Yassine, 69, who is under house arrest in Sale since 1989.

Concerning the issue of Western Sahara, Mohammed VI reaffirmed the position of his father when he said that he is committed to defend Morocco’s territorial integrity by holding a « confimative » referendum in this region.

Confirming that he wants to reign over a state of law not of fear, Mohammed VI dismissed on 12 November 1999 the all-powerful Driss Basri, Minister for Interior since 1981 and who was until then considered as the second most powerful person in Morocco and a handicap for the new policy implemented by the Prime Minister Abderahmane Youssoufi.

For a retrospective of the first ten years of the reign of Mohammed VI see:

  • An iron hand in a velvet glove (Editorial 24/7/2009)
  • Mohammed VI: ten years of reign (press review 24/7/2009)