Reuters International

Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane Secretary-general of the Justice and Development party (PJD) waves during a party meeting in Rabat, Morocco October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer


RABAT (Reuters) - Moroccans voted on Friday in their second parliamentary election since the king devolved some powers in a constitutional reform five years ago to ease Arab Spring protests calling for change.

After leading the ruling coalition since 2011, moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) is expected to dominate the ballot over main rivals the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) which critics say is close to the palace.

No party openly challenges the king, who retains most executive authority. Voters will select lawmakers for the 395-seat House of Representatives. The prime minister will be selected by the king from the party that wins most seats.

Under the electoral system, no one party can win an outright majority, forcing winners into a drawn-out process of negotiations to form a coalition government.

PJD-led government pushed fiscal reforms and is popular for its anti-corruption stance. But campaigning was marked by accusations from critics that the royal establishment, uneasy with sharing power with Islamists, was unfairly backing PAM.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi; writing by Patrick Markey)


 Reuters International