It is essential that the reforms maintain their momentum in Morocco, Luca Volontè declares

Luca Volontè (Italy, EPP/CD), rapporteur of PACE's Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy on the Evaluation of the Partnership for Democracy in respect of the Parliament of Morocco, made a fact-finding visit to Morocco from 16 to 19 April 2012.

During the visit he had meetings with the speakers of the two chambers of parliament, heads of political groups and of parliamentary committees and members of the Moroccan delegation to the Assembly. He also held talks with the Ministers of the Interior and of Justice, the President of the National Human Rights Council and the President of the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication.

At the end of his visit the Rapporteur made the following statement:

"The Parliament of Morocco was the first to seek and to be granted Partner for Democracy status. It therefore played a pioneering role in this field and paved the way for others.

The Parliament must continue to assume this difficult but honourable role, ensuring that the political commitments and the reforms covered by Resolution 1818 (2011) are implemented in an exemplary way.

The political reforms initiated by the King in March 2011 are well in hand. The new Constitution is now in force and its implementation has borne its first fruits: the composition of the government formed in the wake of the elections held in November 2011, which the Parliamentary Assembly observed, reflects the will of the voters. Parliament's political role in the institutional system has been reinforced.

It is true that much remains to be done, notably as regards gender equality and parity, reform of the legal and judicial system, the fight against corruption and many other fields. We also hope that the moratorium on executions, in force since 1993, will be transformed into abolition of the death penalty.

It is essential that the reforms maintain their momentum and concern all the spheres mentioned in our resolution. The Assembly and the Council of Europe as a whole are ready to assist the Moroccan authorities, notably concerning the Neighbourhood Co-operation Priorities for Morocco for the period 2012-2014, which should be signed on the occasion of the Assembly's April session.

I therefore encourage our Moroccan friends to make the most of the opportunities offered by their rapprochement with the Council of Europe so as to promote democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights in their country, for the good of the people of Morocco."