The Moroccan crown is hereditary and is passed on to the oldest male descendant in direct line or to the closest collateral male relative. The king, claiming descent from the Prophet Mohammad, is commander of the faithful and the symbol of national unity. He makes all civil and military appointments and signs and ratifies treaties. He can dismiss the parliament (if in session) and bypass elected institutions by submitting a referendum to the people on any major issue or whenever parliament rejects a bill he favors. He presides over the cabinet, and if the integrity of the national territory is threatened or events liable to jeopardize the functioning of Morocco's national institutions occur, he may declare a state of emergency.
The constitution of 1992 was amended by referendum in 1996. The national legislature became bicameral with the lower house elected directly and the upper house consisting of two-thirds of its members elected and one-third appointed by the king. The Chamber of Representatives consists of 325 members directly elected for five-year terms. The Chamber of Advisors consists of 270 members selected by indirect election: 162 would represent local authorities, 81 trade chambers, and 27 employees' associations. Suffrage is universal at age 21.