Moroccans voted in a parliamentary election on Friday that could yield their most representative government ever, after King Mohammed ceded some powers to prevent any tumultuous spillover of Arab Spring uprisings.
The election will be a litmus test of the ability of Arab monarchies to craft reforms that would placate popular yearning for greater democracy without violence-ridden revolts of the sort seen in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria this year.
Some 13.6 million Moroccans registered to vote in the North African country’s ninth election since independence from France in 1956. The voter turnout stood at 34 percent by 1700 GMT, nine hours after the vote began, the Interior Ministry said.
Voter turnout at the previous polls in 2007 stood at a record low 37 percent of 15.5 million voters registered then by the Interior Ministry. The ministry has not explained the drop in the number of registered voters between 2007 and 2011. State-run 2M television channel said some of the highest turnout rates on Friday were in the disputed Western Sahara.