Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. Political reforms in the 1990s expanded parliamentary power in 1992 and 1996, and in 1996 a bicameral legislature consisting of two chambers was established. On his accession to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed VI promised to enact a series of reforms democratizing the monarchy, but this was seen as largely unfulfilled. King Mohammad VI succeeded his father, King Hassan, who had ruled for thirty-seven years. Hassan’s rule, known as the “Years of Lead,” was largely marked by violence against state dissidents.
The Kingdom of Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975. Morocco has retained control of the majority of the territory, with the nationalist Sahrawi (the ethnic group of the Sahara, mostly those from Western Sahara) Polisario Front, controlling only 20-25% of the land. The Polisario Front has declared the entire Western Sahara territory to be the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (RASD), which has been recognized by close to 80 other countries and granted membership to the African Union.