Moroccans went to the polls Friday in the country’s first parliamentary elections since adopting a new constitution following mass protests over unemployment and corruption. Turnout in the North African country was 45%, the Interior Ministry said. Both Parliament and the prime minister have greater powers under the new constitution, while the monarch’s sway has been slightly lessened.
More than 300 international observers monitored the voting, alongside 3,500 Moroccan observers, the semiofficial Le Matin newspaper reported. Morocco’s moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is expected to do well in the vote.
Lise Storm, senior lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter in England, told CNN the elections were important because “they are exciting for the first time.” After years in which the results have been predictable, this time more is at stake and the outcome may signal whether the population is happy with the monarchy or not, Storm said.
If people voted for the bloc of traditional loyalist parties, that would suggest they want to maintain the status quo, she said, whereas more votes for the PJD would signal a desire for greater change.