King Mohammed VI, who succeeded his father in 1999, has adopted a multi-party political system that ensures that no one party can secure a majority clear majority of seats in parliament: the result is always a government consisting of a coalition of rival parties. This coalition is much easier to control, and it is in charge of a parliament with insignificant powers. Under the current rules, the king also has the right to appoint the prime minister and four ministers with powerful portfolios, without any reference to the weight of their parties in parliament.
There is hardly any doubt that the majority of the people in the three Maghreb countries – Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia – believe their leaders to be autocratic, corrupt and closely allied with the West against Islamic groups in the region. Add to this belief the fact that wealth in all three countries is monopolised by rich elites, while most people are deprived and poor, and it becomes plain why there is so much popular resistance to the ruling elites and the long-serving rulers they maintain in power.