In 1957-1958 Moroccan family law was codified in the Mudawwana, a text known for its close adherence to the classical Maliki tradition. Since the early 1980s the debate about reform has become more intense and widespread. The relatively limited reform of the Mudawwana in 1993 was closely linked to the beginnings of a process of cautious democratization. Since then the discussions have become more vehement, especially since the coming to power of a new government in 1998 consisting of former opposition parties. A year later this government presented a plan for extensive family law reforms. The plan has provoked considerable public debate over key concepts such as democracy, development, human rights, civil society, and ijtihād. Upon closer inspection, larger issues are at stake: Who may speak out in public and participate in politics? This new turn in the discussions is related to the emergence of a public sphere.