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AP / The Hindu /RABAT, July 1, 2011.
Workers install a banner in support of Yes to the Referendum for the new constitution expected on first July in Rabat, Morocco, on Wednesday, as women are seen dancing to celebrate victory before. The banner reads " La bonne Galette say yes to referendum" - AP.
Moroccans voted on Friday on whether to adopt a new constitution that the king has championed as an answer to demands for greater freedoms — but that protesters say will still leave the monarch firmly in control.
The referendum on the constitution is near certain to result in a resounding “yes” vote, like all past referendums in this North African country and generally throughout the Arab world.
It’s buoyed by a huge media and government campaign, and is seen by some as a way to tentatively open up Moroccan politics while heading off the kind of tumultuous regime change seen elsewhere in the region.
Moroccans started heading to the country’s nearly 40,000 polling stations at 8 a.m. local time. Preliminary results are expected after polls close on Friday night.
A popular tourist destination, this generally stable, Muslim kingdom is a staunch U.S. ally in a strategic swath of northern Africa that has suffered terrorist attacks — and in recent months, popular uprisings against autocratic regimes.
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