Morocco’s moderate Islamist Party of Justice and Development has won parliamentary elections, according to official results released Saturday, despite frustration with its handling of the economy in its five years leading the government.
The Interior Ministry said that the PJD won 125 of the 395 seats in the Chamber of Representatives. The Party of Authenticity and Modernity, founded by an adviser to the king, won 102 seats.
The conservative Istiqlal party took 46 seats.
No party won a majority in Friday’s vote, so the PJD will likely need to create a coalition government.
“Today democracy won,” Prime Minister and PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane said as the results were coming in. “After leading the government for 5 years, after implementing reforms, after its achievements, after carefully managing the budget and reforms with the retirement fund … after widening health care coverage, after all of this — thanks be to God — today, the Moroccan people have given the PJD a victory.”
Under Morocco’s system no party can win an outright majority in the 395-seat parliament and the winner must form a coalition government.
The king, who retains most executive power, chooses a premier from the winning party, but building a coalition promises to be tough for the PJD.
“We were expecting more seats but … our modernist project has done well despite all attacks,” Khalid Adnoun, PAM spokesman said. “There will be no alliance with PJD. If they get their coalition, we will be in the opposition.”
Also, the Centre-right National Rally of Independence or RNI – part of the outgoing coalition and which won 37 seats in Friday’s ballot – has also ruled out another partnership with the Islamists.