The result of Morocco’s general election will not be officially known until early Saturday evening but already the Justice and Development party is claiming to have won.
Government officials have not been able to confirm the party’s victory.
If it is true, then the PJD, led by Abdelilah Benkirane, will be the second moderate Islamist party to lead a North African country since the start of the Arab uprisings.
At 45 per cent, the turn out was higher than the last poll in 2007.
The main rival to the PJD is the liberal Alliance for Democracy coalition led by Salaheddine Mezouar. While not making any predictions, they too said they have been receiving positive feedback.
Past elections in Morocco have been dogged by claims of vote buying, but intenational observer Dr. Nizam Assaf said this poll appeared to have been fair: “We observed that the secrecy of the vote was respected. We also noticed that the commissioners observing the election stations were in place…the entire operation was transparent.”
In trying to stop the spread of Arab uprisings to Morocco, King Mohammed ceded some powers, meaning whoever wins will have unprecedented authority, but the final say on the economy, security and religion remains with the king.