Among the MENA states, Morocco has been a key target of Western democracy promotion efforts in recent years. It is often perceived as one of the most liberal and progressive countries in the region, and hence as an important test case for democracy. King Mohamed VI succeeded his father, King Hassan II, in 1999, following the latter’s death after 38 years on the throne. There is no doubt that this signalled the start of a more liberal era with significant reforms. However, the dominant perception of Morocco as a country on the path to democracy overlooks the fact that it is still effectively an absolute monarchy in which the king is head of state with vast powers over the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature, as well as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and religious leader (Commander of the Faithful). The king and the ruling elite surrounding him (makhzen) also control large parts of the economy. As Kausch (2008:1) puts it, and as this case study will argue, “while clearly ahead of other countries in the region in terms of human rights and liberalisation, Morocco is still a centrallysteered façade semi-autocracy, not the ‘model’ of Arab democratisation it likes to be portrayed as.”