Under pressure from the Arab Spring uprisings, King Mohammed VI of Morocco proposed a new constitution last summer providing for a more empowered Parliament. On Friday, voters went to the polls to determine its makeup.
The new constitution reserves critical powers for the throne, which retains absolute authority over military and religious matters. But while still appointed by the king, the prime minister must be chosen from the party with the most seats in Parliament.
Analysts say that given Morocco’s complex proportional electoral system and the few requirements for aspiring candidates and parties — there are 5,873 candidates from 33 parties — it is unlikely that one party will emerge with a majority. About 13 million voters are eligible to elect 395 members of Parliament. Results are to be announced on Saturday.
With widespread disenchantment with the political elite, there are concerns about the turnout. There are also questions about how well the Islamist Justice and Development Party will perform, especially after the victory of Tunisia’s main Islamist party, Ennahda, in elections last month.