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Countries and Flags: Flag of Morocco

Morocco is a country located in North Africa. Morocco also administers most of the disputed region of the Western Sahara as the Southern Provinces. Despite being situated in Africa, Morocco remains the only African state not to be a member of the African Union due to its unilateral withdrawal on November 12, 1984 over the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1982 by the African Union as a full member without the organization of a referendum of self determination in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, including the power to dissolve the parliament. Executive power is exercised by the government but the king's decisions usually overwrite those of the government if there is a contradiction. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors.

The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. The latest Parliamentary elections were held on November 25, 2011, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair. Voter turnout in these elections was estimated to be 43% of registered voters, but only about 25% of Moroccan adult citizens actually voted. The rest either chose not to vote or they were not registered as voters, thus not allowed to vote.

The political capital of Morocco is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador.

The Moroccan economy is generally diverse but very fragile. About 40% of Moroccans cannot read or write, and the country has high levels of extreme poverty and health care deprivation. Morocco also has a high level of economic inequality. The unemployment rates under the highly educated as well as the unskilled are very high and cause consistent social unrest in many cities and villages. In 2011, the UN's Human Development Index ranked Morocco as the 130th most developed country in the world.

Almost all Moroccans speak either Berber, Moroccan Arabic or French as mother tongues. Hassaniya Arabic, sometimes considered as a variety of Moroccan Arabic, is spoken in the southern provinces (Western Sahara) in the country by a small population.
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