Morocco has a population of over 32 million and an area of 446,550 km2 (172,410 sq mi); if Western Sahara is included that would be 710,850 km2 (274,460 sq mi).
The political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca; other major cities include Marrakech, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its rich culture is a blend of Arab, Berber (indigenous African) and also other African and European influences.
Morocco administers most of the disputed region of the Western Sahara as the Southern Provinces. The status of Western Sahara remains unresolved. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975 and a guerrilla war with pro-independence forces ended in 1991. U.N. efforts have failed to break the political deadlock.
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 override 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 main religion is Islam. The official language is Literary Arabic. Moroccan Arabic referred to as Dareja, Berber and French are also spoken. Hassaniya Arabic, sometimes considered a variety of Moroccan Arabic, is spoken in parts of the southern provinces (Western Sahara).
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