Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has promised constitutional reforms in a bid to appease his population and prevent protests from escalating in the country. In a televised address to the nation, King Mohammed outlined major steps to “strengthen democratic development” on 9 March.

He has appointed a committee to work with political parties, trade unions and civil society groups to draw up proposals for constitutional reform by June. A draft constitution will be submitted to the people via a referendum.

King Mohammed also promised to establish an independent judiciary and to enshrine real powers to an elected prime minister.

He also explained a regionalisation programme to devolve more power and “empower the presidents of regional councils instead of governs and walis to implement council decisions”.

Thousands of Moroccans took to the streets on 20 February for a “Day of Dignity” across the country. Six people were killed with hundreds wounded in the violence that erupted between the protesters and members of the security forces.

A new demonstration has been called for 20 March.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King has the power to appoint key government officials, including the prime minister.