The dominant party in Morocco’s coalition, the Islamist Justice and Development Party, promised to be different, to fight corruption and improve living standards.

Some important steps have now been taken such as the introduction of free healthcare for millions of citizens and an overhaul of the subsidy system to enable cash payments to the poor. But increasingly the government is perceived to be simply doing the bidding of King Mohamed VI.

Critics say its initiatives are motivated by a desire to maintain the status quo rather than a genuine commitment to reform and social and economic development. The country only avoided the social unrest that swept rulers from power across North Africa last year as the king was quick to respond with constitutional reforms and wage increases.

Hopes for a freer society are also fading as activists say they are being targeted once again after a reprieve early last year.

The question is how long people will accept the slow pace of progress in growing the economy, tackling unemployment and eradicating poverty for the sake of stability. The continuing chaos in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, might help them discover more patience.