Morocco’s liberal RNI party won the most seats in parliament, followed by another liberal party, PAM, while the country’s co-ruling moderate PJD Islamists suffered a severe defeat, early results revealed on Thursday.
RNI, led by wealthy agricultural minister Aziz Akhannouch, won 97 seats in the 395-seat parliament, followed by PAM (82 seats) and Istiqlal (78 seats).
After a 96 per cent count of all parliamentary seats, the PJD, which had been a coalition partner in the previous two governments, received only 12 seats.
RNI, led by billionaire agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch, took 97 of the 395-seat parliament, followed by PAM with 82 seats and the conservative Istiqlal with 78 seats.
The PJD, which had been a coalition partner in the previous two governments had only taken 12 seats after a count of 96 per cent of all parliamentary seats.
The RNI had only 37 seats in the 2016 election, whereas the PJD had 125.
In the previous government, RNI ministers were in charge of the important economic portfolios of agriculture, finance, commerce, and tourism.
Morocco held parliamentary and local elections on the same day on Wednesday, increasing voter turnout to 50.3 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2016.
Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with the king wielding broad authority over the country in North Africa.
He appoints a prime minister from the party with the most seats in parliament, who then forms a government and presents it to the King for confirmation.
The Palace has final control over appointments to critical departments such as the interior, foreign affairs, and defense.
The RNI will have to begin coalition discussions to create a government since new voting procedures are expected to make it harder for larger parties to gain as many seats as before.
The palace also sets the economic agenda and has commissioned a 37-million-person development model country, which the next government is expected to adopt.
The PJD accused opponents of purchasing votes in a statement released on Wednesday, but did not name anyone or provide facts.
Although PJD has been the largest party since 2011, it has failed to stop laws it opposes, including one to bolster the French language in education and another to allow cannabis for medical use.
The PJD will move into the opposition if it does not win elections, Lahcen Daoudi, former PJD minister told reporters.