Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of about 35 million and an area of 710,850 km², including the disputed region of the Western Sahara, seen by and mostly administered by Morocco as the Southern Provinces. Morocco is part of the Maghreb region, in addition to Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and Libya, with which it shares cultural, historical and linguistic ties.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive powers, including the power to dissolve the parliament. Executive power is exercised by the government but more importantly by the king himself. 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 in 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. The political capital is Rabat, but the largest city is Casablanca; other main cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangiers, Salé, Fez, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, and Nador.
Most Moroccans natively speak either Moroccan Arabic or Berber as a mother tongue. Both languages have regional dialects and accents. Hassaniya Arabic is also spoken natively in the southern parts of the country by a small population.
Morocco has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish-controlled exclaves, Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), Algeria to the east, and Western Sahara to the south. Since Morocco controls most of Western Sahara, its de facto southern boundary is with Mauritania.
The internationally recognized borders of the country lie between latitudes 27° and 36°N, and longitudes 1° and 14°W. Adding Western Sahara, Morocco lies mostly between 21° and 36°N, and 1° and 17°W (the RasNouadhibou peninsula is slightly south of 21° and west of 17°).
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