Moroccans are voting in an election where women are playing an increasingly prominent role. Last year’s electoral reforms set aside 12 per cent of the seats in the local council ballot for women in a vote where Islamists have high hopes of winning key cities.
In the parliamentary election two years ago just 37 per cent of the electorate bothered to cast their ballot, but this time the government hopes more are taking part. “I’m going to vote, and so are my neighbours,” said one woman. Another said: “I’m going to vote after I’ve finished work.” It is the second election under the reign of King Mohammed, a man with reform on his mind. The party closely linked to him – the Authenticity and Modernity Party – says it is an alternative to the traditional power of the ruling conservatives, and the emerging power of the Islamists. The moderate Islamists of the Justice and Development Party have campaigned against what they call the self-serving elite that sat back as moral values declined.