Islamists win most seats in Moroccan vote

* Second Islamist party to benefit from Arab Spring uprisings

* PJD wins Moroccan vote with 107 of 395 seats (Adds detail, background)

RABAT Nov 27 (Reuters) – Morocco’s moderate Islamist PJD party won the biggest share of seats in the country’s parliamentary election, final results showed on Sunday, in the latest sign of a resurgence of faith-based movements since the Arab Spring uprisings.

The victory for Morocco’s Justice and Development Party came a month after Tunisia handed power to a previously-banned party of moderate Islamists. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is also expected to do well in an election starting on Monday.

PJD, which will get its first chance to head a coalition government, has said it will promote Islamic finance but steer clear of imposing a strict moral code on a country that depends on tourism.

The party, whose deceased founder was a physician of King Mohammed’s grandfather, is loyal to the monarchy and backs its role as the supreme religious authority in the country.

 

PJD won 107 seats in the 395-seat parliament, according to results from the interior ministry carried by the official MAP news agency.

Three parties from the secularist Koutla bloc, with which the PJD wants to form a coalition, won a total 117 seats, the results showed.

Koutla includes Istiqlal Party, of outgoing Prime Minister Abbas Al Fassi, Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and Socialism and Progress Party (PPS). The three parties won 60, 39 and 18 seats respectively. Istiqlal headed the incumbent coalition.

Ruler King Mohammed is expected to pick a prime minister from PJD’s ranks next week, with its secretary general Abdelilah Benkirane touted for the job.

Morocco has not had a revolution of the kind seen elsewhere in the region. But King Mohammed, has pushed through limited reforms to contain protests demanding a British or Spanish-style monarchy.

PJD’s strong showing came on the back of its promises for greater democracy, less corruption and to tackle acute social inequalities by raising minimum wages and reforming education. Youth unemployment is at 31 percent and nearly a quarter of the 33 million population live in severe poverty.

PJD’s rivals, a grouping of eight liberal parties with close ties to the royal palace, lagged behind with about 160 seats in total, according to the final results.

(af.reuters.com / 27.11.2011)

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